Church History in Plain Language by Dr. Bruce Shelley
Dr. Shelley is a Protestant. His book helped me, a former Protestant, to make the decision to become Catholic. As I read it, I realized for the first time that the early church was the Catholic Church.
I’ve not read the 3rd edition yet, but I’ve read the 1st ed. three times cover to cover, and I refer to it constantly.
I actually brought this book along with me when I enrolled in a church history class done at our parish and taught by a Catholic professor (another convert). I compared what the professor said with what is in Shelley’s Protestant version of church history. There was no conflict, no difference. Dr. Shelley writes facts, not opinions. Dr. Shelley does not write anti-catholic jargon. His book is completely fair to Catholics. And his version of the Reformation is not a glowing account of how the “true Christians” overcame the Catholic usurpers. On the contrary, Dr. Shelley just present the facts, that’s it. No anti-Catholic stuff.
The book is very readable and easy to follow and even enjoyable, written like a story rather than a boring list of dates and places. You do not have to be knowledgeable about world history to understand it. (Some history books refer to other historical events that they don’t bother to explain, and so you get confused and give up.)
Give it a try.