One of the first books that I read was Kenneth Scott Latourette’s A History of Christianity Vol. 1. It helped to spark my interest in church history. I recently reread both volumes of this respected history.
The first thing that readers need to know is that it is dated. Latourette only wrote it until about 1950. Another writer added a chapter until 1975.
Still, this two volume set is a very good overview of church history from the first to the twentieth century. Even though each volume is quite long, the author is only able to give fairly short summaries of major events. This is still a good introduction to help readers to know what areas interest them.
One of the strengths of this history is that it includes some very diverse aspects of history. He covers Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant history. I found this history covered more Roman Catholic events than most.
More than that, it includes a wide geographic range as well. Instead of focusing on just western Europe or the United States, he looks to many other areas of the world. This gives the reader a much broader understanding of the church.
The olde date of this book is a drawback but I still recommend Latourette’s A History of Christianity.