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The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd

The Life of Thomas More (1998)

by Peter Ackroyd

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Aside from Ackroy claiming to a fidelity to the milieu of More by quoting him in the obscure spellings of the sixteenth century, there are vast praries of emotional space between the author and his subject. I am left a bit puzzled. Ackroyd goes to sufficient lengths to remove the aura of hagiography from More, but doesn't construct a viable counter-thesis either. There is simply the written record. Odd. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Wonderful book on a troubled man. Many Catholic schools are named after this man who was made a saint; does anyone remember he burned dozens of Protestants at the stake. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
A good biography, placing in the man in his own context, and dispelling some of the myths regarding the reasons for More's execution. Robert Bolt's play "A Man for all Seasons" is far more to the modern taste of a man defying the tyrant in defence of liberty. Ackroyd has replaced the controversy with its real terms. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 23, 2014 |
Akroyd writes with an irresistible scholarly starchiness. It's hard for me to like More, though I love reading about his times. He was a medieval, hierarchically inclined stick-in-the-mud at the time that this world view was about to be shattered. It's hard for us in modern times to even imagine a world that had the kind of (oppressive) cohesion of his youthful years. He stuck with the mothership of the 1000-year-old franchise. Unfortunately, his boss had left the building. He was obviously killer-intelligent, but smug. Though nobody should die as he did, he was blind to the end to his own hypocrisy. He apparently enjoyed whipping heretics. ( )
  idyll | Apr 9, 2013 |
This book is not a slow read as some reviews have claimed. It is very engaging book for anyone interested in both the man and the world that he live in. I just wish that the author put more emphasis on More's legal career. Nevertheless, this book definitely made me want to read more about Tudor England and the English Reformation. An excellent biography of a brilliant man... ( )
  zen_923 | May 3, 2012 |
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The infant was taken, within a week of its birth, to the precincts of the church: the child of wrath must be reformed into the image of God, 'the servant of the fiend' made into 'a son of joy'.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385496931, Paperback)

The Life of Thomas More is Peter Ackroyd's biography--from baptism to beheading--of the lawyer who became a saint. More, a noted humanist whose friendship with Erasmus and authorship of Utopia earned him great fame in Europe, succeeded Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Chancellor of London at the time of the English Reformation. In 1535, More was martyred for his refusal to support Henry VIII's divorce and break with Rome. Ackroyd's biography is a masterpiece in several senses. Perhaps most importantly, he corrects the mistaken impression that Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons has given two generations of theater and film audiences: More was not, as Bolt's drama would have us believe, a civil disobedient who put his conscience above the law. Ackroyd explains that "conscience was not for More an individual matter." Instead, it was derived from "the laws of God and of reason." If the greatest justice in this book is analytic, however, its greatest joys are descriptive. Ackroyd brings 16th-century London to life for his readers--an exotic world where all of life is enveloped by the church: "As the young More made his way along the lanes and thoroughfares, there was the continual sound of bells." --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

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"Peter Ackroyd's The Life of Thomas More is a reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history - and arguably the most brilliant lawyer the English-speaking world has ever known. Thomas More 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, who was beheaded when he refused to follow his sovereign, King Henry VIII, in severing England's ties from the Catholic Church." "Ackroyd shows dramatically how the clouds of Reformation that swarmed over the European continent unleashed the storm of the early modern period that swept away More's world and took his life. He clarifies the whirl of dynastic, religious, and mercantile politics that brought the autocratic Henry VIII and the devout More into their fateful conflict. And he narrates the unrelenting drama of More's final days - his detention, trial, and execution - with a novelist's mastery of suspense."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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