The Faith: A History of Christianity by Brian Moynahan
This is history on an epic scale, written by an author who combines the journalist's flair for colour and immediacy with the scholar's respect for rigour and accuracy. Starting with the events of Jesus' own life, The Faith traces the rise of Christianity from the status of a small, subversive sect to that of a great world religion, the story of two millennia of evangelism and persecution, heresy and schism, reformation and counter-reformation, from the missionary journeys of the apostles to the rise of the 'tele-evangelists' of the late twentieth century. Whether he is describing the heroism of the early Christian martyrs, the horrors of the Inquisition, the tragedy of the crusades or the spirituality of the Christian mystics, Brian Moynahan writes with balance and objectivity. He is no apologist for the manifest follies and abominable cruelties so often perpetrated in the name of Christ, but nor is he dismissive of the power and beauty of a faith which has endured for so long and inspired so many. This is a book that will appeal to Christians of all denominations, as well as to those of other faiths, who wish to understand the role of Christianity in world history. The vast temporal and geographical scale of the author's canvas, the width and depth of his research, the staggering range of quotations, many from primary and little known sources, and the variety and quality of the hundred-plus illustrations make this book unique. Its treatment of the relationships between Christianity and other faiths, particularly Islam, also make it highly topical.