This is a difficult book to review, and the brevity and paucity of my comments ought to be significant in themselves. The Reformation by Patrick Collinson is an informative and enjoyable read. It is like sitting next to a brilliant professor talking about his subject at a dinner party: you may not get the full context but you’ll get a lot of great anecdotes, a highlight reel of the course, but nothing that would be useful on an exam.
Collinson is clearly an academic, clearly a scholar and clearly at home in the material. But the resultant book isn’t academic or scholarly, and doesn’t leave the reader with the impression of having been at home in the era. It is a glance, nothing more, at the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It is enough to say, “That must have been a very interesting time. Someone could write a very interesting book about that.”