Thomas Becket Warrior, Priest, Rebel

ISBN-10: 1400069076

ISBN-13: 9781400069071

Edition: 2011

Authors: John Guy

List price: $41.00 Buy it from $3.00
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A NINE-HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD STORY, RETOLD John Guy’s thrilling new biography of Thomas Becket reintroduces 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 vividly rendered. The son of middle-class Norman parents, he 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 Becketbreathes new life into its subject—cementing for all time his place as an enduring icon of resistance to the abuse of power.
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Book details

List price: $41.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Random House of Canada
Publication date: 7/3/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Size: 6.50" wide x 10.00" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 2.002
Language: English

Note on Units of Currency
Genealogical Table
The Normans and Angevins
Maps Angevin and Capetian Territories, c. 1160
Thomas Becket In Exile, 1164-1170
Prologue
Ancestry
Upbringing
Politics
Paris
A Fresh Start
Apprentice
Into The Limelight
Arrival At Court
Royal Minister
Bureaucrat And Judge
Warrior
A Solitary Man
Render Unto Caesar
Archbishop
A Broken Relationship
Conversion
The Clash
Clarendon
Northampton
Exile
Attack and Counterattack
Search for a Settlement
The Case Against Becket
Cat and Mouse
A Trial of Strength
Return to Canterbury
Murder in the Cathedral
Aftermath
Martyr
Acknowledgments
An Early Becket Biographers' Who's Who
Note on Primary Sources
Notes and References
Illustration Credits
Index
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