Item description for Characters of the Reformation: Historical Portraits of the 23 Men and Women and Their Place in the Great Religious Revolution of the 16th Century by Hilaire Belloc & Belloc...
Overview This may well be Belloc's most interesting work. It includes Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, St. Thomas More, Cranmer, Calvin, Mary Tudor ("Bloody Mary"), Mary Stuart ("Queen of Scots"), Cardinal Richelieu and many others--23 in all--analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, motives and mistakes and showing how this or that seemingly insignificant factor actually changed the course of history. An amazing book!
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Studio: TAN Books and Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.42" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.68 lbs.
Release Date Jun 27, 2005
Publisher T A N Books & Publishers
ISBN 0895554666 ISBN13 9780895554666
Availability 0 units.
More About Hilaire Belloc & Belloc
Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened.
Reviews - What do customers think about Characters of the Reformation: Historical Portraits of the 23 Men and Women and Their Place in the Great Religious Revolution of the 16th Century?
The Rest Of The Story... Jan 29, 2008
The great Protestant rebellion of the sixteenth century is usually cast in a "heroic" light by historians: Martin Luther "heroically" nailing his 95 theses to the Castle Church at Wittenberg... Thomas Cranmer "heroically holding out his 'recanting hand'" when being burned by "Bloody Mary". Elizabeth I "heroically" facing down the Spanish Armada.... In fact, the "Reformation" was the greatest looting spree in history. With his book, Characters Of The Reformation, Hilaire Belloc presents the Catholic side of the story. And he does it with style.
The truth about the Reformation is something less than holy: Luther was a bad tempered alcoholic with a very foul mouth. Cranmer, the first Anglican primate of all England, was a scheming, hypocritical toady who betrayed Anne Boleyn to her death in order to salvage his own cause. And "The Virgin Queen" Elizabeth I, killed on average, for religious reasons, more people each year of her 44 year reign than did Mary I in the entire five years of her reign. Yet Elizabeth passes through history as "Good Queen Bess", while Mary is reviled as "Bloody Mary". And so it goes....
In this excellent book, Belloc takes on the British, anti-Catholic propaganda machine of his time; saying that those mostly responsible for it were the descendants of those who had made their fortunes from the rape of the Church during Henry VIII's, Edward VI's and Elizabeth I's reigns. Even in the early 1900's that took some courage.
These cameos of 22 of the people involved in the Protestant disaster (Chapter One is on the true nature of "The Reformation") are written in a personal style; as if Belloc were writing to you, a friend in need of helpful information and advice. Some of his subjects are well known: The tyrannical Henry VIII; who dissolved the monasteries of England, stole their land and property for himself and his cronies, and mercilessly killed anyone who disagreed. Statesman, author and saint, Sir Thomas More, who went to the block over, "...an article in the preamble that I cannot accept." The military genius and puritannical king killer, Oliver Cromwell. The "Sun King", Louis XIV....
Perhaps, because we know relatively little of them, of even more interest are his portraits of people like Queen Mary I. Procrastinating Pope Clement VII. Thomas Cromwell, the despoiler of monasteries. The cunning and ruthless William Cecil - ringleader of the cabal of Elizabethan altar robbers - whose Protestant determination masked a particular devotion to keeping his loot. Even Rene Descartes and Blaise Pascal come under scrutiny. It's surprising that neither Luther or Calvin are mentioned here. Perhaps because they're examined at length in other books by Belloc.
Characters Of The Reformation is a fast and worthwhile read. At 23 chapters, 207 pages, one can easily finish it in two or three sittings. This is because Belloc is a good writer - with a gift for capturing the main point and summarizing it succinctly. His lively, pleasantly warm pen at times grows hot, as when discussing Henry VIII, or Anne Boleyn, but never turns poisonous.
A must read for students of the Protestant rebellion. And particularly for Catholics, who have so often been misled by historians about their Faith.
Reformation Information Jul 26, 2007
This is a good book about the people involved in the Reformation and their contribution to the evolvment of the world thereafter.
Great Read for those who are making the full circuit Catholic to Evangelical to Reformed Mar 17, 2007
Interesting to read if you have looked at church from both sides now...
The Reformation Viewed by the Character or Lack of Character of Some of the Leaders Jul 8, 2006
Hilaire Belloc' CHARACTERS OF THE REFORMATION is an informative book that explains the religious upheaval through the individuals who either supported it or tried to stop it. Belloc is very clear that most of those who supported the Reformation were motivated more by greed and desire for political power rather than any religious conviction.
Belloc begins this study with a background of the Reformation, and explains how the Reformers and those opposed to the Reformation responded to the disunity of the Catholic Church. The historical background is important in that each of those who supported the different "reform" movements conform to the general direction of the Reformation. This early section of the book is important to comprehending the remainder of the book.
Belloc's sections regarding Henry VIII (1509-1547) is instructive. Henry VIII was an intelligent, vibrant man when he first took power in 1509. Yet, due to Henry VIII's lust, he ruined both the Catholic Church in England and his own life because of sexually transmitted diseases. Many uninformed Protestants argue that Henry VIII's break with the Catholic Church was due to his attempt at annulment from his wife, Catherine of Aragon. Belloc destroys this myth. Henry VIII's desire for Anne Bolyn was the reason for his break with the Catholic Church. Readers should also note that Henry VIII considered himself a good Catholic, and he merely replaced the Pope with himself. Henry VIII kept the Sacraments and Liturgy of the Catholic Church. What Henry VIII had to do to keep support of his nobility and members of Parliament was to either sanction or at least turn a blind eye to these people literally looting the Catholic Church's wealth and property including universities, orphanges, farm land, monastaries, etc. This is just one example of how greed was the basis of the English Reformation. Henry VIII's mental instability is reflected in his incrasing cruelty which he thought was power.
Belloc's portrayal of Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540)is one of the best this reviewer has ever read. Cromwell became extremely wealthy and increasingly greedy as he helped Henry VIII and the English nobility loot the Catholic Church's wealth. Belloc states that Cromwell had not religious convictions and was in the English Reformation "for the money" and the political power he gained. This may have been Cromwell's undoing. Cromwell antagonized members of Parliament and especially the English nobility who had the ear of Henry VIII. In other words Cromwell made too many enemies which resulted in the parliamentarians passing a bill of attainder requiring the death penalty.
Belloc presents Thomas More (1478-1535)as a man of honor, courage, and decency. Thomas More was appointed Lord High Chancellor, but More has scruples and religious convictions that could not be shaken. St. Thomas More conceded position, wealth, power, and eventually his life to keep the Faith. More was an intelligent man whose intellect gave him the direction he needed to keep the Faith. One should note that More had doubts about his firm convictions, but he never wavered even when he faced the prospect of execution after a rigged trial. One should note that Mary Queen of Scots was convicted after a rigged trial where she was not permitted to present evidence that would have exonerated her. Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603)did not want the execution to take place, but she was so politically compromised by her parliamentarians and nobility who supported the Reformation to keep their loot that she was powerless to stop the execution.
Belloc also presents some of the European Reformation characters. This is an interesting section of the book. For example, Belloc presents the French Cardinal Richleau (1585-1642)as advisor to King Louis XIII (1610-1643)as one who stifled the Reformation in France but abetted it in other areas of Europe. Richleau moved to severely limit the French Protestants, but he helped subsidize the Protestant King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus (1611-1632)during the Thirty Year War (1618-1648). This war may show that the Reformation became increasingly political. Richleau helped reduce the power of the Catholic Hapsburgs in Germany and Spain by enlisting Protestant support. Richleau feared Hapsburgh power against France more than he feared the Reformation. As an aside, King Gustavus Adolphus may have been the only ruler who was a fanatical Protestant, and his soldiers were very brutal in their massacres of Catholics. His death on the battlefield in 1632 may have been unintended justice.
Belloc's incluson of Rene Descartes (1596-1650) and Pascal (1623-1662)may have been overdrawn. Belloc chides Descartes for placing to much emphasis on reason, and Belloc condemns Pascal for his emphasis on emotion. By the time these two men wrote philosophy, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation had exhausted Europe, and their ideas were not that much of a factor. Yet, Belloc gives his readers good accounts of both men's ideas.
Belloc gives accounts of other Reformation figures which readers should follow. Belloc should have presented studies of Martin Luther (1483-1546) and St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556). These men were "major players" during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. This would have effectively enhanced his study.
Hilaire Belloc wrote a solid book. Even though one may disagree with him, Belloc's lucid writing style should attract readers' attention. Belloc states his thesis that the Reformation was much more a politcal and economic phenomena than religious. He cites the individuals who were notable figures, and he explains their motives in light of historical developments and subsequent events. This reviewer highly recommends this book.
Finally the Truth! Feb 3, 2006
After several people at my church advised me repeatedly to read Belloc, I finally complied. I am very happy that I did. Hillaire Belloc lays bare the sordid motivations of the Protestant "Reformers" and proceeds to rake them over hot coals. It is very easy to complain about priestly corruption, but if you seize land from monasteries, sell the lead from the stain glass windows, and keep the profits, you gain a great deal of money and power. Although Belloc tends to be very "Anglo-centric," his conclusions are very well supported. According to him, England's Protestant regime was so influential in exporting Protestantism through arms sales, money, and military advisors that if England had not become Protestant, the whole revolt would eventually have fizzled out. This is not to say that he never covers other nations. His descriptions of Germany, Scotland, Sweden, and the failed attempts to impose Calvinism on France make for fascinating reading. For those of us brought up with the "traditonal" interpretation of the "REformation," Belloc proves invaluable. To all you Catholics out there, I say "Read this book!!!"