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Number of Pages: 416
Vendor: Random House
Publication Date: 2012
Availability: In Stock
Lincoln's Battle With God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for AmericaStephen MansfieldThomas Nelson / 2012 / Hardcover$11.99 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 3 Reviews
$22.99Save 48% ($11.00)Availability: In StockCBD Stock No: WW553096
A revisionist new biography reintroducing readers to one of the most subversive figures in English historythe man who sought to reform a nation, dared to defy his king, and laid down his life to defend his sacred honor
Beckets life story has been often told but never so incisively reexamined and vividly rendered as it is in John Guys 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 IIs 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 Henrys 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 Beckets 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 kings minionsa grisly episode that Guy recounts in chilling and dramatic detail.
An uncommonly intimate portrait of one of the medieval worlds most magnetic figures, Thomas Becket breathes new life into its subjectcementing 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 BY
Kansas City Star • Bloomberg
"[A] suspenseful, meticulously researched biography . . . [John] Guys biography scintillates with energetic scene-setting, giving us wherever possible a tactile, visual feel for early medieval England, and London especially. His portraits of [Thomas Becket and King Henry II], from the early period of their relationship, are subtle and telling. . . . Guys account of this titanic struggle between two great egoists of English history breathes new life into an oft-told tale of throne and altar antagonism, with its complex undercurrents of money, politics, religion and shocking violence. However well you think you know the story, it is well worth the read."Financial Times
"[Guys] new study of Becket is a triumph: a beautifully layered portrait of one of the most complex characters in English history, which gives a new narrative coherence to a very peculiar life. . . . It is to Guys immense credit that he has written such a lively, effortlessly readable biographya book that not only corrects many historical errors and uncertainties, but merits reading more than once, for the sheer joy of its superb storytelling."The Times
"[A] fine and thought-provoking book . . . The worldly man of power did not become an ascetic overnight; insteadas Guy brilliantly demonstrates through a forensic examination of the texts Becket studiedthe new archbishop experienced an intellectual and spiritual reawakening, as his highly strung mind grappled with the gravity of his responsibilities."The Sunday Times