Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel

Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel

by John Guy
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Overview

Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel by John Guy

A revisionist new biography reintroducing readers to one of the most subversive figures in English history—the man who sought to reform a nation, dared to defy his king, and laid down his life to defend his sacred honor
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KANSAS CITY STAR AND BLOOMBERG

Becket’s life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guy’s hands. The son of middle-class Norman parents, Becket rose against all odds to become the second most powerful man in England. As King Henry II’s chancellor, Becket charmed potentates and popes, tamed overmighty barons, and even personally led knights into battle. After his royal patron elevated him to archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, however, Becket clashed with the King. Forced to choose between fealty to the crown and the values of his faith, he repeatedly challenged Henry’s authority to bring the church to heel. Drawing on the full panoply of medieval sources, Guy sheds new light on the relationship between the two men, separates truth from centuries of mythmaking, and casts doubt on the long-held assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends. He also provides the fullest accounting yet for Becket’s seemingly radical transformation from worldly bureaucrat to devout man of God.
 
Here is a Becket seldom glimpsed in any previous biography, a man of many facets and faces: the skilled warrior as comfortable unhorsing an opponent in single combat as he was negotiating terms of surrender; the canny diplomat “with the appetite of a wolf” who unexpectedly became the spiritual paragon of the English church; and the ascetic rebel who waged a high-stakes contest of wills with one of the most volcanic monarchs of the Middle Ages. Driven into exile, derided by his enemies as an ungrateful upstart, Becket returned to Canterbury in the unlikeliest guise of all: as an avenging angel of God, wielding his power of excommunication like a sword. It is this last apparition, the one for which history remembers him best, that will lead to his martyrdom at the hands of the king’s minions—a grisly episode that Guy recounts in chilling and dramatic detail.
 
An uncommonly intimate portrait of one of the medieval world’s most magnetic figures, Thomas Becket breathes new life into its subject—cementing for all time his place as an enduring icon of resistance to the abuse of power.




From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679603412
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/03/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 121,888
File size: 11 MB
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About the Author

John Guy studied history at Clare College, Cambridge, and became a lecturer on early modern British history and Renaissance political thought. He has held academic positions in Britain and the United States throughout his career and is still a Fellow in history at Clare College, Cambridge, and teaches on the Yale in London program at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He appears regularly on BBC Radio and has presented five documentaries for BBC2 television. He also writes and reviews for various newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, and The Economist.

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Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While it is biased against King Henry II of England, and more about Henry than Thomas Becket, it gives some interesting insights into Becket.
ethanpsx More than 1 year ago
Agreeing with the first reviewer concerning the apparent bias against Henry, John Guy, nevertheless, has given the reader a most interesting study on Becket. I’ve read several other books on Becket and Henry and found this volume constructive notwithstanding the apparent prejudice description of some of Henry’s men and the conjecture that seems more than veiled in some of the events. Regardless, I still recommend this book because reexamining history does not mean rewriting history.
Mphilliber More than 1 year ago
John Guy has done a delightfully readable retelling of the story of Thomas Becket. He has waded through much of the material and knit together a very likely rendition of what happened, the personal psychology of Henry II and Becket, their struggles, aims and ambitions. If Guy is correct, Becket was an instrumental part of what most Americans and Westerners think Religious Liberty is about. I recommend the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jumps forwad in time, backward in time and across countries. And it was not getting better after reading 23% of book. So I stopped
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EF!!!