Using the most recent scholarship on the thirteenth century, on the Dominican order, and on sainthood, this groundbreaking biography embeds Thomas in the lived context of his time and place. It approaches Thomas as an imperial aristocrat, as a poor mendicant, as a promising student, and as a religious. While Thomas's brilliance is clear, it is contrasted by the massive upheaval brought both by his mendicancy and his adherence to Aristotle in the medieval University. The book considers Thomas as a man, as a Christian, as a mystic, and as a saint. Written by an emerging historian/theologian engaged in research on the Order of Preachers, this readable and approachable biography will focus on Thomas the man and not chiefly on his intellectual achievements. People who think they know Thomas will be surprised by him, and people curious about him will be intrigued by the fascinating character who became the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages.