The pages of history are filled with stories of men and women burned at the stake, exiled, and ostracized in the name of religion. Thus Roland Bainton explains the struggle within the Christian Church to achieve religious liberty by telling, in popular biographical style, nine stories of sincere people--both persecutors and persecuted--who took part in the struggle.
Bainton's biographies begin with Thomas of Torquemada, instrument of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, and with John Calvin who active in the burning of Michael Servetus. He then covers how such persecution brought about the toleration controversy of the sixteenth century, when Sebastian Castellio struck his blow for religious liberty, when Hollander David Joris made a mystical approach to tolerance, and when Franciscan Bernardino Ochino believed in the cultivation of the inner life. Finally he concentrates on the champions of religious liberty in the 17th Century: John Milton, Roger Williams and John Locke.