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Lord Acton by Roland Hill
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Lord Acton

by Roland Hill

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Thsi well researched biography is not strictly chronological, and suffers because of that, but it tells well the amazing story of Lord Acton's Life (born in Naples 10 Jan 1834, died in Bavaria 20 June 1902). The way he played a major role at Vatican I, even tho merely a layman, was astonishing. He was on the side of the opponents of Pius IX and was foredoomed to lose, but one must admire the devotion he gave to his beliefs--and his determination to hold fast to his Faith despite the power of his opponents. One wishes there had been more attention to the present view of the questions raised by the issues at the Council, and how Vatican II differed in its orientation from Vatican I. But that I suppose is the subject for a differnt study. Anyone interested in the fascinating subject of 19rh century Catholicism will be unable to not be fascinated by this book's account of Acton and his efforts against absolute power. Well worth reading. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 28, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300079567, Hardcover)

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton, 1887 Lord Acton (1834-1902), numbered among the most esteemed Victorian historical thinkers, was much respected for his vast learning, his ideas on politics and religion, and his lifelong preoccupation with human freedom. Yet Acton was in many ways an outsider. He stood apart from his contemporaries, doubting the notion of unlimited progress and the blessings of nationalism and democracy. He differed from fellow members of the English upper class, holding to his Catholic faith; and he angered other Catholic believers by fiercely opposing the doctrine of papal infallibility. In this remarkable biography, Roland Hill is the first to make full use of the vast collection of books, documents and private papers in the Acton archives to tell the story of the enigmatic Lord. The book describes Acton's extended family of European aristocrats, his cosmopolitan upbringing, and his disrupted education. Drawing a lively picture of politics and religion at the time, Hill discusses Acton's brief career as a Liberal member of Parliament, his work as editor and owner of learned Catholic journals, his battles for freedom for and in the Catholic Church, his friendship with William E. Gladstone, and his seven years as Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. Though unable to complete The Cambridge Modern History series he envisaged, Acton transformed historical study and left a legacy of ideas that continues to influence historians today.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:18:56 -0400)

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