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In this book, the great historian Belloc sketches 23 famous men and women of the Reformation period, analysing their strengths, weaknesses, mistakes and motives and pinpointing deeds that changed the course of history.

Belloc often puts the real responsibility for the Reformation on persons not usually appreciated by history. He calls Ann Boleyn -not the weak-willed King Henry VIII-the "pivot figure" of the English Reformation, for it was her iron determination to be Queen, rather than merely a mistress, which launched the movement. He describes the plotting of Thomas Cromwell, the man who looted and destroyed the English monasteries and "the true creator of the English Reformation."

He shows how William Cecil accomplished the seemingly impossible task of "digging up the Catholic Faith by the roots" and "crushing out the Mass from English soil." He highlights the tragic error of Cardinal Richelieu in putting France before Catholicism and thus torpedoing Europe's last great chance of keeping Christendom united. He describes the deaths of St. Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Catherine of Aragon, Elizabeth I and Thomas Cranmer, showing the dramatic role played by Faith or heresy in each one's passing from this world. He presents the harrowing dilemma of Pope Clement VII when confronted with Henry's demand for an illegitimate annulment. Belloc gives the true facts about the much-maligned Mary Tudor (maliciously labelled "Bloody Mary") and the tragic Mary Stuart ("Queen of Scots").

Even those who think they do not like history will be unable to put this book down, for rather than discussing abstract "movements" and "forces," it describes the characters and deeds of real people, tracing the results of their greed, lust, tenacity, blindness, fear and -in the case of St. Thomas More -heroic Christian constancy. It brings to life a crucial era in history, a tragic era, an era that continues to have the profoundest effect on our world today.

208 Pages

Published by TAN Books
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  • Seller location: Wanganui, Wanganui, NZ

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