Article by Christopher Howse @ the Telegraph:
Executions were in the spirit of the age. Henry VIII had burnt Lutherans for heresy, and his daughter did the same in greater numbers. In less than four years her judges sent 280 Protestants to the stake. It was "the most intense religious persecution of its kind anywhere in Europe" writes Eamon Duffy in his new book Fires of Faith (Yale, £19.99). But he argues that the "received perception of the campaign of burnings, as manifestly unsuccessful and self-defeating, is quite mistaken".
Professor Duffy is our leading expert on religion in the Tudor period, and his account of the reign of Mary (1553-58) is an expansion of a chapter in The Stripping of the Altars (1994). That book was a lastingly influential picture of the vitality of traditional belief in England between 1400 and 1580. Now he has done for the policy of Mary Tudor (below) what Henry Kamen did in 1998 for the Spanish Inquisition in a book of his own – exploding myths and explaining thinking of the time.