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eBook Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel ePub

eBook Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel ePub

by John Guy

  • ISBN: 1400069076
  • Category: Historical
  • Subcategory: Biography
  • Author: John Guy
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Pages: 448
  • ePub book: 1560 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1912 kb
  • Other: azw rtf txt lrf
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 984

Description

John Guy's book presents a different theory on their relationship than most books (and especially films). I was fascinated by the story of Thomas Becket while in college. This book really gives on an in-depth look at the true life of Thomas Becket

John Guy's book presents a different theory on their relationship than most books (and especially films). The book itself spends a lot of time (perhaps too much time) on Becket's exile in France, but does provide interesting history into the roles of the French king, the Popes and various other Euopean rulers at the time. This book really gives on an in-depth look at the true life of Thomas Becket. His life was far different from what I had originally learned.

John Guy is one of our most distinguished Tudor historians and therefore an unexpectedly sympathetic biographer of. .

John Guy is one of our most distinguished Tudor historians and therefore an unexpectedly sympathetic biographer of Becket, though his earlier books include important studies of More and Wolsey – other chancellors called Thomas who fell foul of a tyrannical King Henry. His book does not drastically alter the picture of Becket offered by specialist studies, such as Anne Duggan's splendid 2004 volume in the "Reputations" series, but Guy is more interested in Becket's elusive psychology than in the ideals that he saw himself as defending, and this study is accordingly stronger on particulars than on principles.

Thomas Becket by John Guy. Misunderstood martyr or hypocritical traitor? . Misunderstood martyr or hypocritical traitor? In recent years, the trend has been towards the more negative view but in this latest biography, published to coincide with the 850th anniversary of Becket’s election as Archbishop of Canterbury, John Guy seeks to redress the balance. As well as reinstating Becket as a figure of principle, integrity and extraordinary bravery, Guy claims to reveal the real man behind the controversial legend: his character, appearance, interests and sexuality.

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.

Thomas Becket in effigy in Canterbury CathedralRobert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images. As Rowan Williams might tell you, being the Archbishop of Canterbury is a thankless task. The forces of secularism and the English Christian establishment are not easily aligned, and when things go wrong, it is usually the Primate who gets it - either literally or metaphorically - in the neck. History, however, tends to remember archbishops with greater fondness. Take Thomas Becket, who fell out with Henry II and was murdered in his cathedral in 1170

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The biographer’s trap, John Guy remarks in Thomas Becket, his portrait of that foremost friend turned foremost foe .

The biographer’s trap, John Guy remarks in Thomas Becket, his portrait of that foremost friend turned foremost foe of Henry II, is to look for a decisive moment of change. But, he adds, to do that is to write the history of the saint without his shadow. But he hedges his bet, arguing that the adult Becket could not have been homosexual because Henry would have used this as evidence in the course of their deeply acrimonious public feud.

So Guy weaves together the various phies written of Becket in the years immediately after . In places, Guy does risk drifting into psychobabble in his analysis of the two personalities that dominate this book.

So Guy weaves together the various phies written of Becket in the years immediately after his brutal death – and coloured by that event – with the bigger political picture in Europe. In the process, he teases out the nuances. Again, this is well-trodden territory. The worst excess is when he describes Becket as "always anxious and insecure by temperament" and attributes that to being "closest to his mother as a child", but generally he steers a safe course in such treacherous waters.

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   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.NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BYKansas City Star • Bloomberg

Comments

Talrajas Talrajas
As a reader with a very strong knowledge in the high medievil history era I have read a lot concerning Henry II and Becket. John Guy's book presents a different theory on their relationship than most books (and especially films). His accounting of the relationship between the two individuals puts a completely different view to the famous falling out between the king and his archbishiop. The book itself spends a lot of time (perhaps too much time) on Becket's exile in France, but does provide interesting history into the roles of the French king, the Popes and various other Euopean rulers at the time. So there is enough intrigue involved, not just religion, for those interested in very early 'politics'. The book is also interesting because it provides information about a British king (other than Henry VIII) attempting to control the Church (of course Henry II wasn't the first king who attempted to exert control over the Catholic church). While I enjoyed the book, and found it intriguing because of the new information, I ultimately only gave it 4 stars because it starts to become somewhat bogged down with pages and pages of details about who sent appeals and complaints to and from the Pope and who threatened to excommunicate whom. Ultimately, though, I think the book is one of the better books I've read concerning the topic and period and, while I find Guy to be a somewhat inconsistent historian (based on other books I've read authored by him) I do think this is a comfortable read that only requires basic background information to fully enjoy the book.
Kalv Kalv
Easy to read; well documented and thoughtful about the value of sources...
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
NiceOne NiceOne
I knew little of Beckett except for brief mentions—mostly due to his murder in a church. The first half did a good job of describing how Beckett moved from a merchant’s son to becoming a confidient and essentially chief staff of King Henry. He was the civil assistant to the bishop of Cantiberry. When the bishop died the king nominated Beckett. Beckett had to be ordained a priest first before being installed as bishop. But he quickly had conflicts with the king over church assets and control. Eventually Beckett had to flee to France. After a so-called settlement he returned to England only to be murdered by 4 knights in front of a congregation of monks. The king did not directly order the murder but made comments that England would be better off without him. The problem with the book was that it bogged down in the second half and was hard to follow—too much minutiae with unneeded detail.
Balladolbine Balladolbine
This book is deserving of all the praise it gets for its life of Becket, but I would like to add that it also gives a fairly good idea of the physical and mental world in which the protagonists move. I tend to think of the early Middle Ages (and this book records events in the 11th century) as fairly static and monotonous, but that's not at all correct. Guy shows us how often, how quickly and relatively easily, the nobles and clergy travel back and forth across the English Channel and then all over the map of western Europe (usually for military reasons). There was constant communication between London and Paris and Rome. Guy's bravura description of the enormous retinue that accompanies Becket to a conclave in France gives a vivid idea of the wealth of the aristocracy and the splendor of their possessions, too--what was worn, eaten, and given as gifts.

I also commend the book for making very clear the issues that divided Henry II (surely as unreliable, murderous, cruel, and mendacious a king as Henry VIII) and his Archbishop of Canterbury. Significantly, 400 years after the events in this book, when Henry VIII undertook the same schism with Rome that Henry II nearly provoked, he made sure to destroy the famous shrine at Canterbury that had been erected in memory of Becket. In Henry VIII's mind, Becket was no saint and no hero.

One footnote: I had never realized before that the Pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales were on their way to Canterbury in order to visit Becket's shrine.
Naa Naa
As he tells this old story--a very good one, very well-told--Guy presents all the facts, raises all the old questions, and adds some of his own; and his interpretations, although sometimes rather forced or at least questionable, justify yet another biography, following upon the somewhat less masterful one by Frank Barlow in 1986.
Although Guy's biography is essentially less a fact-driven than a character-driven narrative, the chapter in which he focuses purely on a character analysis of Becket is excellent, in which we learn that he was off and on solitary, vain, materialistic, devout, ambitious, willful, reckless, hypocritical, rebellious, brave, energetic, sexually ambiguous, politically astute, philanthropic, theatrical, a power broker, a fine horseman, intellectually fertile, a destructive warrior, and a faithful friend, especially with John of Salisbury.

Is John Guy one of the many who have affection, admiration, and respect for Thomas Becket? The many ways in which this biographer answers that question raises this fine to a level commensurate with the enigmas of its subject.
Fonceiah Fonceiah
This is a well written and well documented biography of a man thrust into a battle with a tyrant king, which was bound not to end well for him. Though it may be easy to see Becket's faults, it's not so easy to see how much he was manipulated by circumstances and a very cunning and deceitful King Henry II.