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The Life of Thomas More Paperback – November 9, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Peter Ackroyd combines readable narrative and unique observations with a sharp eye for the most fascinating facts of history. Visit Amazon's Peter Ackroyd Page.
Top Customer Reviews
Ackroyd's efforts to present More and the late medieval ethos are very successful.Read more ›
It has been remarked that the chapters amount to a series of vignettes. That's true, and the amount of knowledge retailed in each glimpse of More and his world is staggering.
To give but a few examples:
Chap. 3 - St. Anthony's Pigs: we follow young More through the streets of Tudor London to his school and get insight into the Renaissance education system.
Ch 4 - Cough Not, Nor Spit: Thomas' early career as a page to Archbishop (of Canterbury) Morton, Henry VII's notorious "enforcer". This relationship illuminates More's later dealings with Cardinal Wolsey.
Ch 8 - We Talk Of Letters: sketches of Grocyn, Linacre, Lily, Colet, More - the "London humanists", or More's intellectual circle.
And so on. The book continues in the same fascinating vein. It is a hard slog to read, and I'm sorry that Peter Ackroyd did not give a glossary of A) Latin and Greek expressions, and B) even some of his more obscure English words. I also regret that there's no map to illustrate Ackroyd's loving depiction of the London where More learned, lived, worked and suffered.
More's story is well known and often told. Ackroyd has given a fully-rounded portrayal of the man, his background, career, family and friends.
What a pleasure to read.
At first glance, the contrast between More's "worldly" political career and his deep, sincere spirituality might seem jarring to contemporary eyes. Ackroyd deftly points out, though, that for More's contemporaries, there really isn't a contrast. Religion, politics, and social hierarchy were all part of the same system -- to a point. The Life of Thomas More shows that, given the right elements (e.g., Henry the Eighth on the throne, the Protestant Reformation in full swing, More's own faith), religion and politics can (and will) clash violently.
Ackroyd's writing is, quite simply, wonderful. While the material can be quite dense, Ackroyd's prose keeps you moving swiftly through the book. Although the book is certainly well-researched and up to anyone's standards of scholarship, Ackroyd's tone is not at all distant.
On a more personal note, I found Thomas More's strength and faith to be very inspiring. While few of us will become martyrs to our faith or wear a hairshirt, Thomas More's life shows that strength of character and strong faith require a lot of work, but are valuable attributes in a complicated world.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
School text for my 7th grader, She's actually reading it for pleasurePublished 4 months ago by mrscott
interesting story, reads a bit dry, informative and entertaining.Published 5 months ago by Perspectech
An excellent history of not only Thomas More but of the time he lived.Published 6 months ago by D. W. Miller
Excellent book! Very detailed, if you aren't interested in the saint's life, don't get it. Myself, I thoroughly enjoyed it.Published 8 months ago by Tracy Watson
I sat down, prepared to hate-read this (because I despise Thomas More) and was pleasantly surprised. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Morrigan
Thomas More was a Martyr and a Hero...Peter Ackroyd captures the tremendous story.Published 10 months ago by Donald McGrath
It makes one wonder why Thomas More to the King James Bible sound o familiar and Shakespeare as exotic as a reading from the Vulgate. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kerry Mathison
Peter Ackroyd's book "The Life of Thomas More" is... Read more