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Thomas More

Author John Guy
Publisher SPCK £12.99
Format hbk
ISBN 9780281077380

This brief examination of the life and later reputation of Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor would make an excellent starting point for anyone beginning a course of study on the Reformation. However, the short biography which forms the first part of the book is disappointingly dry and dull. Guy becomes much more interesting as he discusses More’s treatment by later generations in art and literature. I found the discussion of the contrasting characterisations by Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons) and Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall) especially useful as Guy points out how later contemporary political issues shape the portrayal. There is also a frank discussion of the political motivation behind More’s canonisation by the Roman Catholic Church (without any evidence of miraculous activity) in 1935. A good bibliography provides plenty of scope for further study.

KIRSTY ANDERSON

Biography, History