By Richard Hayman
The Reformation transformed England forever. From peasants in the lanes and fields to the court of Henry VIII, no life was left untouched as the Roman Catholic Church was replaced as the center of the nation's religious life. Emerging from a dense mesh of European ecclesiastical and political controversy and Tudor dynastic ambition, the English Reformation ended with the Pope supplanted as the head of the national church, the great monasteries -owners of much of the country's land-disbanded and destroyed, the Latin Mass replaced by vernacular services and the colorful wall paintings of parish churches whitewashed. This is a fully illustrated introduction that looks at the main players-Thomas Cranmer, Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and others-as well as the broad sweep of this era of bitter controversy, brutal persecution and seismic upheaval.