One may read about the "early church" or the "Renaissance popes" without a clear idea of the who-where-when-what-why-and-how of those eras. This easy-to-read volume answers the basic question "what did the Church look like in this particular period?" for the four traditionally recognized eras of Church history: early, medieval, Reformation, and modern.
Each chapter includes a map and timeline to locate the reader in time and place. The timeline identifies what else was going on. Then they address these topics: 1) The Big Picture: a broad overview of the era; 2) The Church's Hierarchy: a look at the popes, cardinals and bishops with their concerns; 3) The Church in the Pews: what was Christianity like for the average person; and 4) What made this period unique--taking a comparative approach.
All chapters conclude with discussion questions and a list for further reading.