A warning to potential readers with strong Christian convictions: this book may send you into a frenzy! Duffy's complex look into the character and nature of late medieval Christainity, and the subsequent effect of the English Reformation upon it is, to say the least, different. His style, if fairly biased, is both fluid and engaging, and his research is of the finest quality. Although one may find it quite easy to pick apart Duffy's argument, as I found myself doing, it nevertheless stands as quite an achievement. He spends an enormous amount of time and energy delving into a rather compelling arguement about the common practices and beliefs of 15th century English catholics, largely in an attempt to show that the Reformation in England was not as popular a movement as many people might believe. Truly a fascinating, well written, and vastly debatable work of history; without a doubt a "must-read" for the Reformation historian or devotee.
This is the most enjoyable book I've read in the last five years. I learned so much about what the church was like in England before the Reformation. There was so much of this I didn't know, and finding it out was like recovering a long-lost treasure. The details are marvellous.
Reading about the changes which came about in the reigns of HenryVIIIth, Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth was extremely informative. Now I understand how the reformers and the monarchs who supported them managed to change the church of England from the Catholic church it was into a very different, and very protestant organisation.
Whether you have religious inclinations or not, this book is a great read. At the very least, you'll like reading about this period in history.
If you're an Anglican, you might be particularly fascinated to read about what your church was like before the Reformation. I was, and I think we lost a lot of the richness of traditional worship when Cramner et all came along and ripped away so many beautiful traditions from the church.
I am very grateful to Eamon Duffy for writing such a detailed account, and for making it all such a great read.