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Thomas Becket (Phoenix Giants) Paperback – 12 May 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New edition edition (12 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857999665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857999662
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,756,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A comprehensive biography of Becket that dazzles from its complexity and the dexterous way it weighs and juggles each twelfth-century account over and against the others. . . . A standard for future Becket studies."--W. Trent Foley, "Journal of Religion --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

The horror of Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury’s brutal murder by knights of King Henry II transfigured him into one of the most popular saints in Western Christendom. “Now we have the best biography we are ever likely to have: I regard it as definitive” A.L. Rowse, Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 16 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
Although I had to read this book for a presentation at university, I became hooked. I had read other books on the same subject and to be honest they were just boring. Barlow gives an extensive amount of information on Becket. He concentrates on his character and his relationship with the King. Barlow makes you look on Becket with a different perspective. The detail in which the book was written is second to none. I honestly believe that this is the best historical book on the market about Becket. Barlow has made a subject which is generally considered boring a interesting one.
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Format: Paperback
The author has read all documents, all letters and memoranda, all notes and chronicles from eye-witnesses and other people around Thomas Becket. Maybe even too much or too many. He tries to rebuild a full biography with all personal intentions and meanings from this imbroglio and forest of testimonies. He succeeds quite well, though at times he seems to be overwhelmed with details. Yet he clears up a few facts. Becket was of Norman extract by both his parents and his father was a merchant in London. Jean Anouilh's myth of a Saxon father and a Saracen mother is clearly ousted. The book is also clear about Thomas Becket's life. He sure was the friend of Henry II, in spite or because of a ten years age difference. But this did not mean he took part in Henry's drinking and womanizing. In fact he appears to be a very serious and tedious person who does not really like the pleasures of life, even if, as the Chancellor, he is obliged to have an apparently ritzy life. The point is he was a good Chancellor and had a good influence on Henry, though as the Chancellor, he had no real power, except on church services for the King and the copying service of the crown. He probably taught Henry his job and kept him within some limits. When he was the Chancellor he did all he could to impose and improve the King's power, and limit and contain the Church's. He forced the Church to accept to pay the various taxes the King needed for his wars. But Henry tricked him. Was it with his agreement or against his will? We will never know. Henry appointed him Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the church in England. This enabled Thomas Becket to finally lead the life of austerity and rule-governed behavior he desired. He was able to wear the monastic underwear under his archiepiscopal dress.Read more ›
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Fran Barlow's assessment of Thomas Becket is an invaluable study aid to anyone working on this unlikely saint, or is a perfect read for the interested layman. One note of caution-- and this is why the star review is not higher-- this book is a beautiful edition produced for the Folio Society, but it does not contain the footnotes from the original edition! It also has different page numbers, meaning as a reference work for those studying Becket, it is perhaps not as useful as a copy of the original edition. Overall though, as an introduction to Becket this text is good, and is presented in a beautiful binding.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exactly what I wanted. This is a fascinating, if rather academic book that traces Becket's life through from the beginning and spares the reader no detail of the political intrigue that accompanied him through his life in medieval England (and France).
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Very good copy. Order arrived promptly.
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