Top critical review
Fails to establish purpose or direction
on 11 September 2018
A professional historian with high standing as an expert in this field fails nevertheless to explain what is important about the subject and why it is important to approach it in the way he does. As a result it is without direction and cannot settle on a stable narrative or analytical perspective. Few openings to broad historical accounts are as dire as the first chapter on the Reformation in Scotland. For the reader with little prior knowledge of Reformation theology it is bewildering; for those who do know something, it is disorganised and arbitrary. Ditto the political dimensions of the English Reformation. And so it goes on - endlessly repeating its confusing insistence on presenting "both sides" of an evaluation, without enabling the reader to make sense of their merits or achieve insight into their relative weight. Laboured and obscure, this horrible, tedious book must fill the undergraduates for whom it was written with dread (and a determination to find an alternative), and risks killing anyone's interest in this period of British history. I awarded two stars rather than one because there are no doubt some erudite readers who can find useful information to supplement their established understanding.