Jan 18, 2017
Here are four books (in no particular order) that I recommend for 2017. All are excellent and none requires specialized knowledge or expertise.
Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark
Any mainstream textbook will tell you that the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history; that Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and is rightly called "Hitler's Pope"; that the Dark Ages were stunted by Catholicism towards the progress of knowledge and science; and that the Crusades were an early example of the greed for power and riches on the part of the Catholic Church.
In this engaging book Rodney Stark, distinguished professor of history and the social sciences at Baylor University, argues that some of the most firmly held ideas about history that paint the Catholic Church in the most negative light are, in fact, mostly fiction. In each chapter, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic myth, and gives a fascinating history of how each myth developed and became the conventional wisdom, and he presents a startling picture of the real truth. Stark is not only an outstanding social historian-but significantly-is not a Catholic.