Ken Mogzolov Mogzolov itibaren Monts-en-Bessin, Fransa
When I was growing up my parents had a huge portrait of Thomas More (their favorite saint) hanging in our living room. One of my brothers was named for him and one of the first movies I saw was "A Man for All Seasons." I came to accept that More was a noble, God-like figure who became a martyr for the Catholic Church because his conscience would not allow him to go along with the plans of Henry VIII to displace the Pope as head of the Church. Later, in reading "Wolf Hall," I encountered a different Thomas More - clever, brilliant and committed to the Church, but with a dark side that led him to gleefully participate in the burning of heretics. So I decided to read this to get the real story of Thomas More. The book is very interesting, though not completely objective. The author is a Catholic and very sympathetic to his subject. He goes to great lengths to portray More as a man of his times, and the burning of heretics, well, that was just kind of the way things were done back then and More can be excused because he saw the heretics as attempting to bring down civilization as More knew it. Not sure that I totally buy that. Shouldn't a saint be held to a higher standard? And, some of his actions and the lack of tolerance for other viewpoints make for interesting parallels to some things that we see in today's world. The book is definitely worthwhile reading, particularly the second half of it. It is absorbing to follow More as he is brought into Henry's circle and his struggles to reconcile his duties to the Church with his duties to the king make for interesting reading. Not so the first part of the book. Since little is known of More's early life, due to lack of documentation after 500 years, the author spends a lot of time describing English life in the early 1500s and taking the reader on a tour of the areas in London where More lived and was educated. There is also quite a bit of speculation as to the details of More's life then. That is not without value, but there are times when I think that I would have gotten just as much out of the book if I had skipped the first twenty chapters. The last part of the book, detailing More's fall from grace, imprisonment, trial and execution, is very well done. One cannot help but to be moved by the way More conducted himself at the end - always gracious, kind, and devoted to his religious principles, yet still thinking like the lawyer who practiced his entire adult life. At the end, I was left thinking of More as not necessarily a saint, but as a fascinating human being.
I am still in the reading process, and basically it just has me thinking alot more about the things I already think about, and letting me to explore situationist thought as a mescla betwixt ever little molecule of life. At times it is hard to follow, and I put it down when I am feeling easily distracted.