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Once And Future King (Berkley Medallion Book) Mass Market Paperback

263 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425020770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425020777
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on June 22 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book, or rather these four books, are a masterpiece! T.H. White has written a book that has expertly blended both pathos and humour, and has done an incredible service to the Arthurian legends. Never has a book made me laugh so hard, and cry so fiercely as this one. Never have I been more taken aback by the great insight and beauty of the writing. He masterfully builds to a crescendo and masterfully winds down from there. The final paragraph is the best ending to a novel which I have ever read, and was crying tears caught between the two extremes of joy and despair.

Get this book, now! You will not regret it. I never thought I could love any book more than the Lord of the Rings, but then i read the Once and Future king.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jack howe on July 19 2004
Format: Hardcover
The once and future king, by T.H.White, is the tale of one mans attempt to deter the brutal dream of dictatorship, violence and dominance.It is a modern classic which provides a unique potrayal of the Arthurian ideology within its vast account of the struggle against the inevitable dark, and the various quandaries and qualities of which the human condition is comprised. A fitting appropriation of Thomas Malory's 'Morte d'Arthur', it is a rambling amalgamation of five novels with a precise objective- to illustrate the brutality and futility of belligerence.Witty, perceptive and superbly crafted in Whites formidible and delectable grasp of the English language, it is a glorious and intensely passionate literary piece which grasps and delightfully questions the nature and fabric of human kind.
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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on Feb. 9 2006
Format: Paperback
One commentator once said, 'T.H. White has a genius for recreating the physical conditions of the past; the child who reads him will learn far more than all the historians and archaeologists could tell of what England was like in the Middle Ages.' This tale, 'The Once and Future King', is a classic of English literature, crossing the ages to be a tale both of modern times in the language and treatment of characters as well as the misty, mystical past with its subject matter.
Like many classics, this book inspired both great love and great irritation. It is a classic retelling of the Arthurian legends - White does not add to the legends with his own additions, but rather sticks closely to manuscripts and stories that have gone before, most notably Thomas Mallory's 'Le Morte d'Arthur', also considered a classic. The book is divided into four major sections: 'The Sword in the Stone', 'The Queen of Air and Darkness', 'The Ill-Made Knight', and 'The Candle in the Wind'. The overall tone of Arthur's legend goes from hopefulness to tragedy, as even the final conflicts become unresolved, hence the idea that Arthur will come again.
The title of this work comes from the supposed inscription on Arthur's tomb: HIC IACET ARTORIVS REX QVONDAM REXQVE FVTVRVS. The sweep goes from Arthur's childhood to the final battle with his son Mordred. Like many works, this is both a piece of entertainment as well as a political commentary (think 'The Wizard of Oz' here) - Mordred's thrashers are Nazi stormtroopers, for example. This book was the product of the time just before World War II. Merlin's preaching of just war theory (the only acceptable reason for going to war is to prevent another war) is apropos of the time.
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By A Customer on July 10 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must say, the first time I perused this particular selection, I was bored to tears by it. A high school student forced to do as such, I found reading through White's tome of knights and adventures to be extremely tiresome. It was only on my second go through, some years later, that I recognized this work as one of the best pieces of literature to grace my library.
T. H. White goes to great depths to properly craft his characters, and remains true to his depictions throughout the five books comprising his depiction of the Arthurian legend. All the famous figures - Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and Merlyn, to name a few - are given a new lease on life, and for the first time, we are given a good look at their personalities, from fears to secret desires. White reminds us through his ingenuity and silver tongue that even the greatest of people are fallible, as witnessed in the fall of Lancelot. The reader is given, for the first time that I can recall, a deep look into the thoughts of each character, and what drives their actions throughout the course of each novel.
White's derivations from traditional Arthur also give his work a strikingly original air, casting old characters in occassionally new roles while still largely following the legend. His work with Merlyn struck me as particularly interesting: a man travelling backwards in time, who knows already the sad fate of Arthur yet who does his best to steer Arthur in the proper direction. Of special note is Merlyn's outlook on 'might' versus 'right', and the struggles Arthur has with this issue throughout the tenure of his reign.
On the whole, it is well worth the read, especially if one is a fan of the Arthurian legend. My only complaint comes in the scope of White's narrative; he is, at times, very long-winded, supplying several expansive passages and descriptions that are rather superfluous, and excessive. If you can suffer such things, however, I would highly recommend this brilliant story.
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