The Life of Thomas More
By Peter Ackroyd
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385496933, 480pp.)
Publication Date: November 9, 1999
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Peter Ackroyd's The Life of Thomas More is a masterful reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history. Thomas More (1478-1535) was a renowned statesman; the author of a political fantasy that gave a name to a literary genre and a worldview (Utopia); and, most famously, a Catholic martyr and saint.
Born into the professional classes, Thomas More applied his formidable intellect and well-placed connections to become the most powerful man in England, second only to the king. As much a work of history as a biography, The Life of Thomas More gives an unmatched portrait of the everyday, religious, and intellectual life of the early sixteenth century. 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--such as his preference for bawdy humor--as well as his indisputable moral courage.
Peter Ackroyd is a bestselling writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His most recent books include the biographies Dickens, Blake, and Thomas More and the novels The Trial of Elizabeth Cree, Milton in America, and The Plato Papers. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award (jointly), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and The Guardian fiction prize. He lives in London.
"Superb....Ackroyd describes the London More knew, the ferment of humanism to which he contributed, and the contemporary appeal of Catholicism."
--The New Yorker
"Brilliantly conceived....Ackroyd's vividly human More is...imperfect yet inspiring."
"This is the first biography of More to have absorbed the small revolution in Reformation scholarship of the last twenty years....The innovation is that he is able to see More as a particularly sensitive and elegantly playful representative of a vibrant, late medieval Catholic England."
--Andrew Sullivan, The New York Times Book Review
"Impressively thorough....This stunning book corrects...mistaken impressions of More."
"A sensitive, well-informed work that will be of value to anyone seeking a deeper knowledge of More's personal history."
--The Wall Street Journal