Albert H. Newman here provides a survey of the struggle against infant baptism in the old church and a history of the struggle in the Middle Ages carried on by the Petrobrusians, Arnoldists, Waldenses, Taborites, and Bohemian Brethren. He goes on to describe the Anabaptist movement from its beginning in Zurich, Switzerland, with Grebel, Manz, and Hubmaier in Austria, Moravia, and Bohemia, and finally with Melchior Hofmann down the Rhine. The kingdom of Muenster he sees in its true light as an aberration, not as a result of the movement. After a chapter on Menno Simons in the northern group of the Mennonites, he turns his attention to the Anabaptists in Italy and Poland. Finally, in the last three chapters, Newman describes the history of the Anabaptist movement in England and the rise of the Baptist Church in 1609.
His presentation of history is characterized by thoroughness, impartiality, and a benevolent understanding. Newman's work was one of the first complete scholarly histories of the Anabaptist movement in the English language, and its extensive bibliography of 400 Anabaptist sources is of great value.