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The Once and Future King [Mass Market Paperback]

T. H. White
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)

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Book by White, T. H.

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First Sentence
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Oragon, Repetition and Astrology. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece! June 22 2012
By Anthony
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong link in the chain Feb. 9 2006
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, entertaining and funny Feb. 28 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
So much has been written about this book not sure what else I can add. The book starts off very childlike in its narrative and grows into more explicit adult themes advancing the conversation on the nature of justice and power. The change is subtle and gradual, and the book takes on darker themes as the story approaches Arthur's last battle. Merlyn of course is the model of the absent minded yet profoundly connected mentor that was to dominate some popular literature for nearly have a century. Expect a fair amount of Aristotelian spin on a very old, very well known tale.

The production quality is fairly good for the price. The only better edition currently published is by the folio society, the price tag is also twice what this one is.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Once and Future King- a book for all ages Sept. 3 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was assigned to read this book as a summer reading assignment, and like every other high school student, I disliked the thought of doing so. In addition, I have never been a big fan of King Arthur and his adventures, so when I finally started to read this book my expectations were not high. However, after reading just the first part, The Sword in the Stone, which describes Arthur's childhood, I was pleasantly surprised. The mysterious magician, Merlyn, taught "the Wart" (young Arthur) about human nature and the world around him by changing him into different animals. The Wart was able to experience the world from the perspectives of a fish, a falcon, and a badger, among other creatures. By becoming these creatures the Wart gains a better understanding about the animals' lives and the particular way each species organizes its "society." The remainder of the story tells of King Arthur's efforts to bring unity, peace, and justice to England by establishing the Knights of the Round Table. The plot is entertaining and filled with colorful characters such as King Pellinore, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Grummore, who go on brave and fanciful quests including the search for the Holy Grail and the hunt for the Questing Beast. The love triangle among King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Guinevere, which ultimately helps to destroy King Arthur's dream of unity and peace, provides a dark counter point of jealousy and betrayal to the book's fairy tale quality. The story overall is easy to follow, entertaining, and full of surprises.
Besides its captivating plot, The Once and Future King reveals T.H. White's views of the world's societies. Even though this book was written from 1939 to 1958, its main points are still relevant to today's world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A celebration of Humanity July 19 2004
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best ever!
This book is a toss up between itself and The Three Musketeers as my favourite book of all time. A definite must read.
Published on July 14 2011 by toysparta
4.0 out of 5 stars Wart and Art
Re-reading this book recently, I was struck by the way having artwork of King Arthur and Merlin on the cover almost spoils the beautiful and complex images T H White conjures up. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2011 by Donna from T'ranna
5.0 out of 5 stars Tha true version
Currently reading my very worn copy of "The Once and Future King" I realised what a beautiful book it is and how T.H. Read more
Published on June 11 2010 by George F. Fry
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong link in the chain
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2006 by FrKurt Messick
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic with plenty of themes to ponder
I found this to be a terribly slow book to read. The frequent narrative asides (many extremely anachronistic) were a major distraction and prevented me from settling into a rhythm... Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Andrew W. Johns
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive read.
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... Read more
Published on July 10 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A work of Art!
A wonderful book that tells of a great tale of epic fantasy and chivalry. When I read it for the first time as a 6th grader I became very bored witht the book, but now that I have... Read more
Published on June 23 2004 by "chris1238911"
Published on June 13 2004 by Venay M. Chapman
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprise
When I started reading this book, I was surprised: it was not what I expected. I thought that White's work would be a fantasy book, dealing with the magical aspects of King Arthur,... Read more
Published on April 7 2004 by J R Zullo
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