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Universal Father: A Life of Pope John Paul…

Universal Father: A Life of Pope John Paul II

by Garry O'Connor

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Pope John Paul II will go down in history not only as the third longest serving pope, but possibly the most politically influential of all 305 popes and antipopes since St. Peter.

Born in Poland in 1920, Karol Wojtyla's early life was filled with intense love and intense loss: he was eight when his mother died, twelve when his older brother died of scarlet fever, and twenty when his severe but loving father died during the Nazi occupation. An avid soccer player and skier, a gifted poet, playwright and actor, by 1944, after a near fatal accident, Wojtyla was studying for the priesthood in secret.

Garry O'Connor, an accomplished biographer of the likes of Sir Alec Guinness, Ralph Richardson and William Shakespeare has spent the last five years writing and researching this book. Unlike the competition, this book details not only Wojtyla's life before he became pope, his friendships with men and with women, his nationalism, his early years as a priest in rural Poland and his travels to Rome, but it also explores the pope's own poems, plays, and philosophical works to find clues to what makes him tick.
  JESGalway | Mar 20, 2018 |
An in-depth biography of Pope John Paul II from the early formative years of his life through the years of his papacy. Very philosophic passages at time, which could be expected as he had 3 doctorates in philosophy. Worth reading again ( )
  oldman | Apr 21, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0747582416, Paperback)

If God is in the details, He’s surely present here. Layer by rich layer, author and prolific English biographer Garry O’Connor chronologically tells the story of the extraordinary life of the late Pope John Paul II. O’Connor shows that to understand the man is first to understand Poland and its history. He introduces us to young Karol Wojtyla’s family members and their numerous tragedies, and shows how his friendships and education shaped Wojtyla for his future role.

We come to know the colorful, multi-faceted future pope through his correspondence, his plays, and his poetry. By turns, Pope John Paul II is shown to be actor, philosopher, athlete, musician, comic book hero, mystic. Wojtyla’s call to the priesthood is compelling, when juxtaposed against the horrors of war and deprivation. As Wojtyla sweats in a quarry or shovels out old prison latrines, it lends context for his future knack of identifying with the common laborer. After Wojtyla assumes the papacy, O’Connor provides a window into the Holy Father’s daily life, his travels, his admirers and his detractors. He also examines the Pope’s controversial battles against women’s ordination, contraception, abortion, and materialism. The chronology concludes right before John Paul II’s death in 2005.

If the loss of one of the greatest leaders in religion of the twentieth century inspires readers to take a deeper look at Pope John Paul II’s life, this book will offer a satisfying, comprehensive tour of the outer events and inner life of a complex and beloved man.--Cindy Crosby

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:04 -0400)

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Chronicles the life of Pope John Paul II from his childhood and early years as a priest through his twenty-six year papacy, highlighting his opposition to communism, his travels, and changes within the Catholic Church during his reign.

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