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|By George Weigel
This outstanding book is the best and most
comprehensive review of John Paul II's life
currently available. Just updated after the
recent death of its subject, it is hard to
imagine another single-volume work written
for the general reader that could do better.
George Weigel is a respected academic theologian
who is also a wonderfully skilled writer.
Without talking down to his audience or over-simplifying
complex issues, Weigel nonetheless succeeds
in explaining the development of John Paul's
religious and philosophical thinking to the
general reader. Though long (886 pages),
the book is fast-paced and engrossing.
Weigel follows the chronological path of
conventional biography but with a deft interlacing
of the theological and philosophical threads
in John Paul's life and ministry. A crucial
element of research for this book was 10
interviews lasting over 20 hours with John
Paul himself, who, the author asserts, neither
avoided any topics nor ever suggested how
a given issue should be treated. Thus, this
is not an "authorized biography"
in the usual sense, but a genuinely independent
work. It is a monumental achievement worthy
of a giant figure on the world stage.
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