The Life of Thomas More

The Life of Thomas More

Book - 1999
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Peter Ackroyd's The Life of Thomas More is a masterful reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history. Thomas More (1478-1535) was a renowned statesman; the author of a political fantasy that  gave a name to a literary genre and a worldview ( Utopia ); and, most famously, a Catholic martyr and saint.

Born into the professional classes, Thomas More applied his formidable intellect and well-placed connections to become the most powerful man in England, second only to the king. As much a work of history as a biography, The Life of Thomas More gives an unmatched portrait of the everyday, religious, and intellectual life of the early sixteenth century. In Ackroyd's hands, this renowned "man for all seasons" emerges in the fullness of his complex humanity; we see the unexpected side of his character--such as his preference for bawdy humor--as well as his indisputable moral courage.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 1999, c1998
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed
ISBN: 9780385496933
0385496931
Branch Call Number: DA334.M8 A63 1999x
Characteristics: x, 447 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 21 cm

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Vincent T Lombardo Mar 31, 2016

"A Man for All Seasons", which is about Sir Thomas More's refusal to support King Henry VIII's separation from the Catholic Church, is my favorite movie, but I knew very little about More, who was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935. (The movie is based on a play.) The play and movie depict More as a saint, but this book is much more truthful, and you see the real More, warts and all. However, I often found this book just maddening! Ackroyd's style is sometimes ponderous, and he often dwells on minutia. He quotes from original sources using the original Old English, but does not translate into current vernacular, which often left me confused! However, I learned a lot, and even though the play and the movie are sometimes inaccurate, both essentially capture the man. A good book, but, as the cliche goes, "a heavy lift".

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