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Now in paperback. A New York Times 1998 Notable Book of the Year. England's famous "man for all seasons" comes to vivid life in this dramatic new biography by acclaimed novelist and biographer Peter Ackroyd. This book reveals an unexpected side of More's character (a preference for bawdy humor) as well as examines the indisputable moral courage of this biography on the Catholic martyr and saint who was ultimately beheaded by King Henry VIII when he refused to sever his ties to the Catholic Church.
In The Life of Thomas More, Peter Ackroyd gives students a magnificent reconstruction of the life and imagination of this central figure in Tudor and Reformation history. An exponent of what was called in his day "the mixed life," More combined medieval piety with worldly mastery of legal argument and the art of negotiation. Ackroyd deftly shows how the Lutheran reformation unleashed the early modern period that swept away More's world and made him a Catholic martyr. He makes sense of the complex intersections of dynastic, religious, and mercantile politics that brought the autocratic Henry VIII and the devout More into their fateful conflict. And he narrates the unrelenting drama of More's final days—his detention, trial, and execution—with a novelist's mastery of suspense. In Ackroyd's hands, this renowned "man for all seasons" emerges in the fullness of his complex humanity; we see the unexpected side of his character (a preference for bawdy humor) as well as his indisputable moral courage.