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January 6, 2022

#Biography Thomas Becket

by N@ncy

Academy Awards, USA 1965   Becket (Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton)



Thomas Becket by John Guy
Finish date: 05 January 2022
Genre: biography
Rating: B

Review: From my notes I see that the book captured
my interest starting with the “broken relationship” between King Henry II and Thomas Becket in chapter 12. So You have to plod on during the first 40% of
the book that was just a description of a middle class man who climbed the social, academic and political ladder. I was impressed by Becket’s mother and how keen she was  to see what her son needed for his future (education etc).

Bad news: Some key issues (Constitutions of Clarendon 1164, turning point in king-archbishop relationship) took a few chapters to get through. Tip: read about people/issues quickly on ( great reference website ) and it will save you time. The chapters can be ‘skimmed’ if you then wish.

Good news: This book really gave me an idea what happened in that period 1120 (birth) – 1170 (murder) -1220 (veneration of the saint). Focus is on the ruthless, untrustworthy vindictive character of King Henry II and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury the ambitious, uncompromising zealot and how they clash. Sparks fly!

Personal: The only history about Henry II I knew  was from the movie Lion in Winter with Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. I loved the film. It takes place years after Becket’s murder and I must admit Henry II is painted in the embellishment of Hollywood colors and does not divulge what (excusez le mot) a badass he was! Hepburn brought Eleanor of Aquitaine alive for me and I’ve read more books about her.

Trivia: She was one of the longest living royalty in the Middle Ages…reached the age of 82 and outlived 8 of her 10 children.


(published 2012, 448 pg)


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