The names “Calvin” and “Luther” are surely familiar to anyone who has studied at least a little bit of church history. They were the major figures of what is now called the Protestant Reformation. However, there is more to the Reformation than Calvin and Luther. One such figure who has been overshadowed, yet is tremendously important, is Ulrich Zwingli of Switzerland. Now, for those who have taken a survey course on church history, or have studied a small portion of church history, Ulrich Zwingli is probably at least a little familiar. For me, personally, I have read a decent amount of material pertaining to Zwingli, but mostly from the perspective of observing what he did to and for the Anabaptists of Switzerland. When I was introduced to the opportunity of reading a full biography on Zwingli (“bitesized”), I was thrilled! And for good reason, Boekestein’s book is excellent.
This biography is composed of about 150 pages of text, and the pages are small, making this a brief introduction to Zwingli’s life. However, even with its small size, it packs a significant punch. The main stages of his life are covered, from his early life, to being a priest, to his clashes with the Catholic Church, to his disputes with the Anabaptists and Luther, and finally to his death and lasting influence. Boekestein’s approach is both sympathetic and evaluative, offering words of praise when such is due, and providing critical comments likewise. It was simple enough for a younger reader to understand, and not overbearing for even the busy adult. While other biographies about Zwingli exist, and would potentially add more detail, I think this is the perfect book for someone who is interested in Zwingli, who may not pursue being a Zwinglian scholar. I would highly recommend William Boekestein’s biography!
**All opinions were my own, much thanks to Cross Focused Reviews for providing a review copy.**