Print details Printable details


Cosmo Lang: Archbishop in War and Crisis

Cosmo Lang: Archbishop in War and Crisis
Robert Beaken

Foreword by: Dr. Rowan Williams

  • Hardback | In Stock | £25.00

  • Hardback | In Stock | $80.00

    add to basket


The period 1928-1942 saw some of the greatest political and social upheavals in modern British history. Lang, as Archbishop of Canterbury, led the Church of England through this tumultuous period and was a pivotal influence in political and religious decision-making. In this book, Robert Beaken provides a new perspective on Lang, including his considerable relationship with the royal family. Beaken also shows how Lang proved to be a sensitive leader during wartime, opposing any demonisation of the enemy and showing compassion to conscientious objectors. Despite his central role at a time of flux, there has been little written on Lang since the original biography published in 1949, and history has not been kind to this intellectually gifted but emotionally complex man. Although Lang has often been seen as a fairly unsuccessful archbishop who was resistant to change, Beaken shows that he was, in fact, an effective leader of the Anglican community at a time when the Church of England was internally divided over issues surrounding the Revised Prayer Book and its position in an ever-changing world. Lang's reputation is therefore ripe for reassessment.

Drawing on previously unseen material and first-hand interviews, Beaken tells the story of a fascinating and complex man, who was, he argues, Britain's first 'modern' Archbishop of Canterbury.

Author Info

Robert Beaken is parish priest of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield and St Katharine, Little Bardfield in Essex. He holds a PhD from King's College London.


‘I am immensely enthusiastic about Robert Beaken’s Cosmo Lang... not just because it combines judgement and pace in telling the story of the Abdication, but because it establishes a vivid and convincing picture of the man at the helm of the Church of England from 1928 to 1942... The new Archbishop of Canterbury, if he has not read this book already, should not delay in doing so.’
Christopher Howse, The Telegraph

‘Robert Beaken has undertaken an immense labour of research and has produced a completely fresh picture of Archbishop Lang.’
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, from the Foreword to this book

‘Robert Beaken has uncovered a real historical scoop: Archbishop Lang’s precise, and decisive, role in the abdication of Edward VIII is now stripped bare. But this is only one dramatic feature of a highly readable biography which casts new light on Lang and enriches ourknowledge of his times.’
A.N. Wilson

' excellent study of a distinguished churchman written with wit and flair'
D.J. Taylor

‘Fascinating... this important book not only revises views of Lang but also sheds new light on the influence exercised by the Church of England in the wider society in the first half of the last century.’
Paul Richardson, Church of England Newspaper

'Highly informative.'
Bernard Palmer, Church Times

'Cosmo Lang is a major work of historical scholarship. It effects a profound revision in our understanding of a critical figure in the ecclesiastical life of early-twentieth century England. It also makes a significant contribution to the political and social history of pre-war Britain more generally. It is beautifully written. And it is a compelling read.’
S.J.D. Green, Standpoint

‘[Beaken’s] research has been detailed and immense and has the advantage of objective judgment and analysis.’
Methodist Recorder

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781780763552
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2012
Number of Pages: 320
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 23 bw in 16pp plates

Also of Interest

St Patrick: The Life and World of Ireland's Saint

St Patrick
J. B. Bury
£12.99 | $21.00

Dalai Lama: The Revealing Life Story and His Struggle for Tibet

Dalai Lama
Mayank Chhaya
£10.99 | $15.81

New Book Alerts

Sign up now

Powered by Google