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The King's Good Servant But God's First Paperback – Dec 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (Dec 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898706254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898706253
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Mar 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book well-written and informative. As someone whose knowledge of the Reformation was limited to what you got 30 years ago in high school world history classes, I am still digesting what I learned from this book and will return to it many times over. As another reviewer stated, the book is biased favorably toward Thomas More and toward the Catholic Church, but the author states this clearly up front, so no one should be surprised. Monti's research is thorough enough so that his book would make an excellent textbook (among others) for a college level class on this period of history. Monti's book has genuinely increased my understanding of this drastic splintering of Western Christianity and given me both new perspective and hope as I see the efforts being made nearly 500 years later to begin to mend the damage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Sep 1998
Format: Paperback
If you want an objective biography of More, read Richard Marius's biography--available at Amazon. The book under review specifically states that the Roman Catholic Church cannot make an error in theology. Therefore the protestants were wrong theologically right down the line. (Except that the Church did need reform on the human level.) If you want to know how More defended the existance of angels, the seven sacrements, and transubstantiation, this might be the book for you. If you can believe--as Monti claims--that More climbed to the top of the legal profession without any ambition, then you are ready to believe More is a plaster saint. But if you really want a well researched biography by a well known scholar, read Marius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jun 1998
Format: Paperback
In his first major work, James Monti has produced a book of lasting value. St. Thomas More is one of western civilization's pivitol figures, and one of the most important saints in the Catholic Church. Finally there is a book which examines his copious writings from the point of view of his life and spirituality. I recommend this text warmly, and would invite readers to consult my longer review of this book in the National Catholic Register, 22-28 June 1998, at p. 8.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eduard Jaume on 29 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to analyse More through a study of his writings. In this it blends literary criticism with theology, biography and history.

It is interesting, and well written, without being overly academic and off-putting to the lay reader. To review this book negatively because it supports More and the Catholic Church is to miss the point. It is not a neutral analysis of the history of the Reformation. This book is an intriguing study of the life, the works, and the psychology of a man who for Catholics is a saint, and for any neutral unbiased observer is a martyr to his principles.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
A Unique and Fair Perspective 30 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to understand Thomas More on his own terms. It is sympathetic to More in the sense that it allows More to defend his views in his own words and instead of trying to find weaknesses to exploit, it attempts to put More's thoughts into context and explain how they fit together to form a comprehensive and consistent whole. You may not like More any better after reading this biography, but you'll certainly understand him better. It is the most honest work I have read on More because it is written by a man whose interest is in More himself, not by someone who simply wants to use a biography as a vehicle to promote his own sociological, political or theological agenda. Short of reading all of More's published works, it seems to be the best way for the reader to be able to listen to More himself, not someone's "spin" or "take" on him. That is why it is so helpful. One really gets a feel for More, his personality, spirituality, political thinking, and family life. I must admit that I've had to reevaluate my thoughts on Thomas More and the whole Reformation. I guess there truly are two sides to every story! Read critically, its a very good book -- but be careful, it might challenge some of your long-standing assumptions.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
"A Fine Exposition of More's Life and Writings" 5 Aug 2002
By Johannes Platonicus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Monti's work, "The Kings Good Servant But God's First," provides an excellent overview St Thomas More's life and writings; but a much greater focus is based upon his writings. Monti's treatment of More's oeuvre is skillfully researched, comprehensive, informative, and pleasing to read. St Thomas More's defense of Church unity and the Sacraments against Tyndale and the rising tide of the Reformation, is finely commented upon in a clear and concise fashion. His devotional writings and correspondence with family in the waning days of his life on earth, are given an exceptional touch of intimacy, which will no doubt compel readers to seek out works such as the "Treatise upon the Passion" and the "Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation" (as one of our fellow reviews has pointed out as well). As for More's life, Monti pays particular attention to his early years and his final days, with brief expositions in between on his rise in the King's court and his later relations with Henry VIII as tensions began to swell between the English monarch and the Papacy. Overall, Monti presents a noble sketch of the Christian scholar and family man, graced with charm and good humor, conscientiousness and candor, who was devoted to his friends and family, and to the salvation of souls and Christ's Church. This book offers much material for in-depth study and further reading, and it is a definite recommendation.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
...those who would lose their life for my sake will find it. 11 Aug 2003
By Thomas More - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent biography of a courageous saint whose faith in God was stronger than his fear of death. While the book provides sufficient historical detail and background, its narrative structure is unique in that the author places events within the context of More's faith. Thankfully, Monti avoids a posthumous psychoanalysis of his subject (as many biographers are wont to do). Instead, he illuminates the saint's inner life by tapping into More's own thoughts, as revealed in his published works and correspondence. The result is a rich portrait of a man whose warmth and courage derived directly from his faith in God and the Catholic Church.
Monti synthesizes More's apologetical writings in response to the Reformation, revealing More's keen theological acumen. What impressed me the most, however, was discovering the depth and richness of More's spirituality and faith. More's insight into Christ's agony in the garden of Gethseme and during His passion were particularly moving. It becomes clear that More's understanding and appreciation of Christ's suffering strenthened his faith when he needed it most.
I would especially recommend this inspirational book to young people, who could choose no better role model than Saint Thomas More. He stands as a beacon of light in today's culture of moral relativism.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding - can't put it down! 20 Feb 2003
By Delgado - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am about halfway through this book, despite purchasing it only a few days ago. It is such a terrific read, I can't put it down. I even bring it to work with me to read whenever I have a few spare minutes!
For those of you who might find history boring, this is still the text for you. Monti's style of writing is outstanding and easy to follow. This book is one of my all-time favorites.

Most importantly, it provides a fair and objective portrayal of Saint Thomas More. Many books have a bias, one way or the other, when writing about More or 16th century England yet it's tough to find one in this book. Furthermore, Monti doesn't focus simply on More, but gives the reader a fair portrayal of the Reformation during this crucial period in European history.

More's life is simply fascinating - it reads like a novel. His genius and profound morality is clear. Upon reading this book, More is the type of man one would want to know, and the kind we wish (!) there were more of in modern-day society. It is an extremely inspirational book.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excellent portrayal of More's life and spirituality 16 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this book well-written and informative. As someone whose knowledge of the Reformation was limited to what you got 30 years ago in high school world history classes, I am still digesting what I learned from this book and will return to it many times over. As another reviewer stated, the book is biased favorably toward Thomas More and toward the Catholic Church, but the author states this clearly up front, so no one should be surprised. Monti's research is thorough enough so that his book would make an excellent textbook (among others) for a college level class on this period of history. Monti's book has genuinely increased my understanding of this drastic splintering of Western Christianity and given me both new perspective and hope as I see the efforts being made nearly 500 years later to begin to mend the damage.
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