Church historian Tony Lane has supplied us with a marvelous account of church history from the Church Fathers to modern times. He arranges his book according to individuals, highlighting key players in church history, briefly identifying their views, major works and influence. Along the way important events such as church councils, creeds and confessions are referenced as well. This approach has the effect of linking movers and shakers of the church with the development and formation of theology through time.
It would be hard to recommend this volume too highly. It is a thorough, delight to read and a great reference tool. There are few weaknesses, although I will mention two disappointing omissions. First, there is no index. This will greatly hamper the student doing research. Second, although the book was published in 2006, Lane ends his treatment of church history with the ecumenical movement in 1999. As a result, there is no discussion of major documents such as the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” statement, nor of important movements such as the emergent church. Perhaps these will be included in a future edition.
If you have an interest in church history, do yourself a favor and slowly read though A Concise History of Christian Thought.