2 out of 4 stars
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American history books describe pilgrims coming to America in the 1600s to escape religious persecution, but have you ever wondered about the details of their life in England prior to crossing the Atlantic? Did you know that both Protestants and Jesuits were in Japan during this time? You may know what the pilgrims were against, but do you know what they were in favor of? Alain Howard Marshall's nonfiction book Protestants goes into these details with previously untold stories about England's 17th century religious separatists.
Most of the 25 chapters describe significant figures in the early history of the Protestant church: Robert Browne, William Brewster, Rose Hickman and John Smith, among others. The text is written as a correction of popular history of the early Protestants. What is known as the Coverdale Bible, Marshall argues, should be called the Tyndale Bible. Marshall writes that William Tyndale is responsible for writing English translations of some books/stories in today's Holy Bible, including the book of Ruth and the story of Pesach (Passover).
Marshall also includes several stories of the persecution Protestants faced for separating themselves from the Roman Catholic church. For example, William Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 for spreading the heresy that anyone can get into heaven by believing in Jesus Christ. In March of 1537 those found guilty of demonstrating against the Roman Catholic church were hanged, drawn and quartered. I can't help but think of Christians who are persecuted in similar barbaric ways around the world today for practicing their faith.
I would like to read this book again after it is edited. Grammatical errors, sentence fragments, misspelled words and misuse of punctuation make it difficult to understand the content on each of the 275 pages of this book. Aside from the editing, I would also like to see a works cited page, or bibliography included. The facts are interesting, but citations would add credibility to the contents, as many of the stories have an anecdotal feel to them.
I rate Protestants 2 out of 4 stars. The information included is valuable, especially as part of English and early American history. In addition, the inclusion of more common meanings of old English words is helpful. Examples are when "fairnite" is explained to be a fortnight, or two weeks; and "natheless" is defined as nonetheless in the text. Even with those two positives, the book is very difficult to get through due to the lack of professional editing. Mr. Marshall is clearly enthusiastic about his subject and has much to share with his audience, but not many readers will be willing to persevere long enough to complete the whole text.
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