ohn Guy’s biography of Thomas Becket is a very good book—it is the work of a scholar (hitherto best known as a Tudor historian) at the zenith of his skill and completely on top of his sources. And how voluminous those are: 12 contemporary or near-contemporary biographies, including one in Icelandic, several accounts of Becket’s reported miracles, contemporary chronicles, hundreds of letters—not to mention a massive amount of secondary literature. Thomas Becket must have good claim to being the most written-about Englishman.
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Those whose interest in history lies mainly in its parallels to current events will find little to chew on in John Guy’s fine new biography of Thomas Becket.