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The King's Good Servant but God's First : The Life and Writings of Saint Thomas More Paperback – October, 1997


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The King's Good Servant but God's First : The Life and Writings of Saint Thomas More + The Life of Thomas More + A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Pr (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898706254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898706253
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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This book is one of my all-time favorites.
Delgado
I believe this book is invaluable for anyone wanting to really know more about this saint or about that period in English History.
E Story
It becomes clear that More's understanding and appreciation of Christ's suffering strenthened his faith when he needed it most.
Thomas More

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to understand Thomas More on his own terms. It is sympathetic to More in the sense that it allows More to defend his views in his own words and instead of trying to find weaknesses to exploit, it attempts to put More's thoughts into context and explain how they fit together to form a comprehensive and consistent whole. You may not like More any better after reading this biography, but you'll certainly understand him better. It is the most honest work I have read on More because it is written by a man whose interest is in More himself, not by someone who simply wants to use a biography as a vehicle to promote his own sociological, political or theological agenda. Short of reading all of More's published works, it seems to be the best way for the reader to be able to listen to More himself, not someone's "spin" or "take" on him. That is why it is so helpful. One really gets a feel for More, his personality, spirituality, political thinking, and family life. I must admit that I've had to reevaluate my thoughts on Thomas More and the whole Reformation. I guess there truly are two sides to every story! Read critically, its a very good book -- but be careful, it might challenge some of your long-standing assumptions.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on August 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Monti's work, "The Kings Good Servant But God's First," provides an excellent overview St Thomas More's life and writings; but a much greater focus is based upon his writings. Monti's treatment of More's oeuvre is skillfully researched, comprehensive, informative, and pleasing to read. St Thomas More's defense of Church unity and the Sacraments against Tyndale and the rising tide of the Reformation, is finely commented upon in a clear and concise fashion. His devotional writings and correspondence with family in the waning days of his life on earth, are given an exceptional touch of intimacy, which will no doubt compel readers to seek out works such as the "Treatise upon the Passion" and the "Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation" (as one of our fellow reviews has pointed out as well). As for More's life, Monti pays particular attention to his early years and his final days, with brief expositions in between on his rise in the King's court and his later relations with Henry VIII as tensions began to swell between the English monarch and the Papacy. Overall, Monti presents a noble sketch of the Christian scholar and family man, graced with charm and good humor, conscientiousness and candor, who was devoted to his friends and family, and to the salvation of souls and Christ's Church. This book offers much material for in-depth study and further reading, and it is a definite recommendation.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas More on August 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent biography of a courageous saint whose faith in God was stronger than his fear of death. While the book provides sufficient historical detail and background, its narrative structure is unique in that the author places events within the context of More's faith. Thankfully, Monti avoids a posthumous psychoanalysis of his subject (as many biographers are wont to do). Instead, he illuminates the saint's inner life by tapping into More's own thoughts, as revealed in his published works and correspondence. The result is a rich portrait of a man whose warmth and courage derived directly from his faith in God and the Catholic Church.
Monti synthesizes More's apologetical writings in response to the Reformation, revealing More's keen theological acumen. What impressed me the most, however, was discovering the depth and richness of More's spirituality and faith. More's insight into Christ's agony in the garden of Gethseme and during His passion were particularly moving. It becomes clear that More's understanding and appreciation of Christ's suffering strenthened his faith when he needed it most.
I would especially recommend this inspirational book to young people, who could choose no better role model than Saint Thomas More. He stands as a beacon of light in today's culture of moral relativism.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Delgado on February 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am about halfway through this book, despite purchasing it only a few days ago. It is such a terrific read, I can't put it down. I even bring it to work with me to read whenever I have a few spare minutes!
For those of you who might find history boring, this is still the text for you. Monti's style of writing is outstanding and easy to follow. This book is one of my all-time favorites.

Most importantly, it provides a fair and objective portrayal of Saint Thomas More. Many books have a bias, one way or the other, when writing about More or 16th century England yet it's tough to find one in this book. Furthermore, Monti doesn't focus simply on More, but gives the reader a fair portrayal of the Reformation during this crucial period in European history.

More's life is simply fascinating - it reads like a novel. His genius and profound morality is clear. Upon reading this book, More is the type of man one would want to know, and the kind we wish (!) there were more of in modern-day society. It is an extremely inspirational book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book well-written and informative. As someone whose knowledge of the Reformation was limited to what you got 30 years ago in high school world history classes, I am still digesting what I learned from this book and will return to it many times over. As another reviewer stated, the book is biased favorably toward Thomas More and toward the Catholic Church, but the author states this clearly up front, so no one should be surprised. Monti's research is thorough enough so that his book would make an excellent textbook (among others) for a college level class on this period of history. Monti's book has genuinely increased my understanding of this drastic splintering of Western Christianity and given me both new perspective and hope as I see the efforts being made nearly 500 years later to begin to mend the damage.
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