This is an excellent introduction to the sheer diversity of Christian faith and practice in the world today. Linda Woodhead suggests that it is helpful to explore this diversity by exploring the three main traditions of Christianity within a historical context: those which emphasise the primacy of church authority (Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism); those which place emphasis on the authority of the bible (most mainstream protestant churches such as Lutherans and Methodists) and the much smaller tradition of those wich emphasise the primacy of the spirit (of which the Society of Friends is a good example.) Like all attempts at a typology, the reality is that the edges of blurred as these emphases are not mutually exclusive.
This is not a book for those who want to read a defence of Christianity nor does it "come down" on the side of any one view of Christianity, which has clearly annoyed one previous reviewer. It is a book written by a first rate scholar of religion who wants to provide an easy to read, engaging, sympathetic book about the origins, growth and diversity of perhaps the world's largest religion. She has achieved her goals magnificently!