This book is suitable for the new "Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury" series because Geoffrey Fisher's was such a significant archiepiscopate, one in which the central issues of his time and place are reflected. Moreover, Fisher represents one major way of fulfilling his office: in this case, the archbishop as administrator. Through his example we can see the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, both in his own day and for succeeding generations. Being a highly competent administrator means more than being an efficient manager. It requires thoughtful strategic planning as well as day-to-day administration. But this approach may result in a loss of personal stature, influence, and memorability if the archbishop's focus is largely on structure rather than on qualities of mind and spirit - if, in other words, the archbishop is not also known (and effective) as an intellectual force, a social prophet, or a wise spiritual leader. The subject of this proposed biography does suggest an irony: he may well have been a more competent archbishop than either his successor or his predecessor, but somehow they are the ones we are more likely to remember today. Fisher was a committed participant in the questions which defined national and international public life. This volume will explore this dimension of his primacy fully, with reference to the Suez crisis in 1956 and capital punishment throughout his years as Archbishop of Canterbury. In such a way it will seek to establish something of the continuing political and social significance not only of this office in the Church, but of the Church at large in the context of British life in the later twentieth century.
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