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Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Thomas Becket was born to middle class, but fairly humble beginnings. His early life showed very little of what was ahead - surprisingly he was not academically minded as a young man, nor was he ambitious intellectually. It was interesting that he enjoyed the friendship of a Norman artistocrat fairly early on and was introduced to another way of life - enjoying hawking and hunting. Indeed, he was wonderfully human, enjoying himself while studying in Paris and seeming neither overly serious nor particularly pious. A critical choice in his life and career was joining the household of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury and learning the craft of a right hand man, becoming invaluable and taking his studies seriously. He also learnt an important lesson when he witnessed Theobald forced to flee for his life, which led him to take precautions when faced with a similar situation.
It is once Henry enters the picture that the book really comes alive. Becket is by Theobald's side when peace is brokered between Henry and Stephen, ending the civil war that had raged for so long.Read more ›
It is really difficult to get more information of the people and the world of the 12th century... the reader can enjoy this book as an introductory work, academic but published in a friendly way... brief chapters, no large disgressions, etcetera
John Guy writes well and his research is extensive. His interpretations of the original sources and evidence are all reasonable and persuasive.
Guy presents the disagreement between Henry II and Thomas Becket for what it was: an Archbishop standing up to a King in defence of the Church's rights and autonomy. In Guy's view, Henry II comes across as a untrustworthy, oppressive tyrant who wanted to subordinate and control the Church in his kingdom for his own political purposes. When Henry II appointed his Chancellor, Thomas Becket, as Archbishop of Canterbury, he expected Becket to accomplish this for him. Instead, Becket took his role as Archbishop as meaning his first allegiance was to God and the Church instead of to King Henry II. In Becket's view, his position as Archbishop of Canterbury meant he was still a subject of the King but his first allegiance was to God and the Church.
The story is a fascinating study of the relationship between Church and state in medieval Europe, 12th century European politics, and philosophical questions such as the duty of subjects/citizens toward tyrannical and oppressive rulers. It's also a very interesting study of a man who stood up for what he believed to be his duty in the face of often overbearing and relentless pressure.
Although Henry VIII later accomplished what Henry II wanted to accomplish through Becket, Thomas Becket's stand against Henry II had a major effect on European history. The story is still relevant today. It's a fascinating story told in a well written, well researched biography. Highly recommended!
In Thomas Becket: Warrier, priest, rebel, victim; a 900-year-old story retold, John Guy does a first rate job of detailing Becket's life and relations with the king, and of painting-in the background crucial to understanding why and how the disputes came about. England was still feudal in structure; the church was a hugely powerful force; virtually all the key players, including Becket, the king, the barons, and most English bishops were second or third generation descendents of Normans who had crossed the English Channel with or following the Conquest, in many cases maintaining their links with France; and, London and Canterbury apart, much of the action of this story takes place in France. It is also relevant that the Pope of the time, as keen as Becket to defend the church's property, income and privileges in England, and generally supportive of Becket, was himself under great pressure from an anti-Pope and his sponsors, and obliged to live in exile from Rome.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating, well written, detailed unbiased account of his life and death.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very informative and interesting book. My only complaint is that I felt a little too much time was spent on Becket's early childhood. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. W. H. Ttee
Very interesting, the author goes into great detail about the ife of Thomas Becket. Many things I did not know about him. Enjoyed the book very much. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alexis
A little slow to develop but eventually I became engaged. A heavy dose of history.Published 2 months ago by Richard Bennink
I very much enjoyed this biography. The research must have been almost a lifetime of effort, but what made me enjoy the book was the writing. Mr. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Aaron B. Krosnick
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