"Peter Stanford makes the life of Luther into a thrilling narrative, told from a modern Catholic perspective."
A beautifully judged mixture of the personal, the political and the historical, that renders Luther human and admirably accessible. Stanford exhibits exactly the evenhandedness that Luther himself lacked.
A thoughtful new biography.
An honest but sympathetic portrait of a profoundly complicated and at times contradictory individual, seen in the heated context of his times...Stanford has managed a rare thing: an easy, pleasurable read through difficult concepts and hard choices. Yet he also conveys Luther's most admirable qualities, not least the absence of self-satisfaction and the presence of what the author calls 'sheer, selfless courage'. In his quest to declaim his truth, Martin Luther's constant resting place was discomfort: a lesson in conscience for his times, and for ours.
Cleverly structured and beautifully written, sparkling with insight and generosity.
It would be easy to portray all these early Protestants as fanatics...Stanford takes a more generous view.
Peter Stanford has a gift for taking theological complexity and running with it. An excellent story-teller with a grasp of the oddities of human judgement.
Peter Stanford has written a compelling biography of one of the greatest men of the modern age. He is particularly brilliant on the tensions inside Luther's private and spiritual life. This is a very fine biography written with a flourish.
Stanford - a practising Catholic and the former editor of the Catholic Herald - conveys brilliantly to a secular atheist like me the nature of the internal battle that Luther underwent... what makes this work so valuable is the writer's belief that religion is important and that the relationship of the believer to God requires explanation. I wonder whether an atheist like me would have been half so effective a communicator of Luther's true importance.
Stanford - himself a Catholic - has developed a reputation as a first-class biographer... [he] skilfully traces the course of the Reformation [and] has also gone to great lengths to make Luther's theology accessible. The core part of that theology, he argues rather convincingly, is as relevant today as ever... If you think this is a religious book for religious people, you'd be wrong.
There is a great freshness and clarity here. By entering this complex history through personality as well as dogma, I found myself learning a great deal without ever feeling 'taught'.