Norwich’s book on the beginning of the Sixteenth Century successfully covers a lot of ground, is a great, somewhat light, read, and if you’re like me, perhaps to be missed.

I do generally recommend the book, and if you know just a little on the period, this a great entry point. This has been called Here I Stand, the book. And if you’re a fan of that game, then this will help give some background to what’s going on. The real point of both is the number of things that we hear about separately that were happening all at the same time. This is a very dynamic period in Europe’s history, and that gets lost in all the examinations of individual bits. And my biggest problem with this book is that Here I Stand shows all of this so much better than Norwich does.

My second biggest problem isn’t Norwich’s fault. Knowing all the things that were happening already, I have already done a fair amount of reading on some of the subjects here, and this light overview can’t—and shouldn’t—compete. So, if you don’t know so much, I do recommend this book, and then I recommend going on to some very good popular histories on the period. To that point, I would recommend Roger Crowley’s Empires of the Sea, James Reston, Jr.’s Defenders of the Faith, Leonie Freida’s Francis I, and Alison Weir’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII. That certainly doesn’t cover everything, which does point up just how much Norwich is tackling here.