Gr 6 Up-Nardo's compact history covers Christianity from its Jewish and Roman contexts through its fourth-century triumph, with a brief glance at subsequent developments to the year 2000. Full discussion of background; brief biographies of Jesus and Paul; and concise treatment of persecutions, politics, worship, creeds, and apologists lead to the central role of Constantine and then to consideration of monasticism, heresies, ethics, and papal primacy. The strengths of the book include its parenthetical definitions, maps, footnotes, substantial extracts from primary sources, the annotated bibliography, and a time line. The black-and-white illustrations are not exciting. Unfortunately, there is a near-total absence of women (briefest mention of Mary, none of Helena, Monica, or of women as the mainstay of the early Church, even in its liturgy; women appear only as rejected by the Essenes and deprived of divorce rights by Christianity). There is no mention of the influence of Christianity on the arts and culture, and the rites of Mithras are assigned to Cybele. Still, this readable volume serves equally well as a guide to the central ideas of Christianity and to the political, social, and spiritual transformation it wrought in the years up to the fall of Rome.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.