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Pope John Paul II [Paperback]

By Tad Szulc (Author) & Tad Szulc (Author)
Our Price $ 6.79  
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Item Number 153576  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   624
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.9" Width: 4.2" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 1996
Publisher   Pocket
ISBN  0671000470  
EAN  9780671000479  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Pope John Paul II is one of the pivotal figures of this century, the spiritual head of more than one billion believers and a world statesman of immense stature and influence. Yet, at the age of seventy-six and in the eighteenth year of his papacy, he remains a mystery -- theologically, politically, and personally. Now, through unprecedented access to both the Pope himself and those close to him, veteran New York Times correspondent and award-winning author Tad Szulc delivers the definitive biography of John Paul II. This strikingly intimate portrait highlights the Polishness that shapes the Pope's mysticism and pragmatism, while providing a behind-the-scenes look at the significant events of his public and private life, including:

  • The inside story of the negotiations involving John Paul II, Soviet President Gorbachev, and General Jaruzelski of Poland that led to Poland's and Eastern Europe's transition from communism to democracy

  • John Paul II's secret diplomacy, which resulted in the establishment of relations between the Holy See and Israel

  • The never-before-told story of how the Polish communist regime helped to "make" Karol Wojtyla an archbishop, the key step on his road to the papacy.

Fascinating and thought-provoking, this biography of Pope John Paul II is vital reading not only for Roman Catholics, but for anyone interested in one of the most important figures of our time.

Buy Pope John Paul II by Tad Szulc & Tad Szulc from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780671000479 & 0671000470

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More About Tad Szulc & Tad Szulc

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tad Szulc is a former foreign correspondent and bureau chief for the New York Times. His eighteen books include Pope John Paul II, Fidel: A Critical Portrait, and Then and Now-the latter two winners of the prestigious Overseas Press Club of America Award.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Well Researched, Comprehensive Biography  Aug 7, 2005
Tad Szulc has done his homework writing the biography. It provides an excellent insight into the zeitgeist and formative experiences that gave the world Pope John Paul II.

If the book has two faults, they are:
1. Lack of concerted effort to be critically objective, occasionally leans towards obsequiousness. Fortunately, it doesn't mar the content;
2. Very technical writing style - exacting, but doesn't make for fluid reading. This has its benefits in terms of a very good index, bibliography and notes.
A Great Biography  Jun 1, 2004
This book was a biography about Pope John Paul II. It included many interesting facts about the pope. Some of the information in the book is that his name before becoming pope was Karol Wojtyla. He was born on Tuesday, May 18, 1920. He was born in the town of Wadowice, in Poland. His whole family died by the time he was 22.
He became pope on October 16, 1978.

One thing that I like about Tad Szulc's biography is that he gives a great background of one of the most famous men in the Catholic Church. Most of the things Szulc discusses in the biography I never knew about. The book takes the reader through Karol Wojtyla's life from his birth until now. It shows how the pope had an incredibly difficult life. Another thing about the book that I like is that it shows how the pope's past experiences and upbringing affect the man he is today. The book doesn't just throw out facts it also show's how Karol Wojtyla's past experiences have shaped his opinions and attitudes, and characteristics.

What I didn't like the book was that it was full of positive comments about the pope, but no criticism. Even though I agree with the author about what a great man the pope is, to others it may appear that Szulk ignored any negative information about the pope. I realize that he was a very moral and respectable person growing up, but everyone does at least one minor thing wrong during their upbringing, like being mischievous or causing trouble. The book does not mention anything that Wojtyla has ever done wrong. It makes him seem like he is without sin. Despite some minor complaints about the book, I think it was an excellent biography.

A Good Biography, But Not The Whole Story  Sep 21, 2003
"Pope John Paul II" is a balanced biography of the Holy Father, from his youth in Poland to the time of the writing in 1995. Tad Szulc's theme throughout is that to understand John Paul II, one must understand his Polishness. Polish culture and experience have molded Karol Wojtyla and have powerfully influenced his Papacy.

Born the son of a minor army officer, Karol Wojtyla lost his mother at the age of 9 and his father while a 20 year old college student. Having lost his older brother between the deaths their parents, he was left alone at a young age. Undertaking his studies at Jagiellonian University, Wojtyla's education was interupted by World War II. Karol obtained employment at a stone quary, thereby obtaining immunity from deportation.

An aspiring actor, Karol Wojtyla saw Poland's salvation in the preservation of its cultrue. His participation in the undergorund Rhapsodic Theatre was his contribution to the cause of keeping alive the flame of Polish culture in Kracow.

During this time, Wojtyla was introduced to the works of St. John of the Cross by his friend and mentor, Jan Tyranowski. These writings lead Wojtyla into the worlds of theology, philosophy and, ultimately, the priesthood. Entering an underground seminary, he was eventually brought into the Archbishop's residence for safety while continuing his studies.

Upon ordination in 1946, Fr. Wojtyla was sent to Angelicum University in Rome to continue his education. There he was taught by Rev. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., a Dominican who was to exert a tremendous influence over his philosophical and theological thought. Touring Western Europe before his return to Poland, Wojtyla observed the priest-worker movement in France.

Returning to Poland, Wojtyla had a career including pastoral, academic and administrative duties. A major part of his ministry was to youth, with whom he would often go on hiking, kayaking or skiing trips.

An appointment as auxiliary bishop of Krakow introduced him into administrative positions and enabled him to attend all session of Vatican Council II, where he played an prominent role. Promotion to Archbishop of Krakow led to his appointment as Cardinal.

Wojtyla's rise in the Church was promoted by powerful patrons, such as Cardinal Sapieha of Krakow and Pope Paul VI. His performance at Vatican II and his travels to Rome and elsewhere made him a well-known figure among many in the Church hierarchy. Among the ironies in Wojtyla's career was that he was not a favorite of the Primate, Cardinal Wyszynski, but was favored by the Communist government which regarded him as apolitical.

With the death of Pope Paul VI, the conclaves of 1978 convened. Progressive forces supporting Cardinal Benilli and Conservatives backing Cardinal Siri deadlocked the conclaves, leading to searches for compromises. The first conclave found its compromise candidate in Cardinal Luciani, Pope John Paul I. The second, guided by Cardinal Koenig of Vienna and Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia, turned to Cardinal Wojtyla.

With his election, Pope John Paul II immediately began to win the hearts of the world. Traveling across the globe, John Paul has visited many nations and confronted many challenges, with varying success.

Much of the reporting of John Paul's Papacy deals with the Pope's involvement in the evolution of Poland from a Communist to a free state, an process in which the Pope is presented as having exerted a moderating influence.

Later chapters deal with specific issues confronting John Paul II, including Liberation theology in Latin America, the role of women in the Church, issues over clerical celibacy, inculturation of the Church, family life and the right to life.

At the end, Szulc gives an assessment of Pope John Paul II as a man who enjoys immense personal popularity and respect but who has not been able to transfer that acceptance to the Church which he heads. While leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions, Szulc suggests that John Paul II may have failed in important aspects of his duties as head of the Church.

Szulc deeply studies and evaluates the Karol Wojtyla and John Paul II of action. I believe that John Paul's greatest long run contribution to the Church may be the vast store of philosophical and theological writings which he has produced. I think that in these teachings may be the foundations of a great Catholic Renaissance. You will find little reference and less exploration of the Pope's writings in this book. Tad Szulc depicts John Paul II as a very intelligent, talented and dedicated man who has been both molded and limited by his Polish background. Tad Szulc is limited by his vision. This biography is very good, but does not tell the whole story of Pope John Paul II.

interesting, though focussed on Polish events  Jul 16, 2000
First a warning: I advice you to skip the very first part of the book, in which is the author tries to give the reader a feeling on the Polish background of the pope. It's unbalanced, emotional, somewhat chaotic, and very little to the point. I almost stopped reading the book because of this.

But when you start reading where the chronological description of the pope's life starts, you'll find a thorough biography, without exaltation, and not without some critical points of view. The first half of the book deals with the years before Karol became pope, and show how he was trained, coached, and grew as a actor, priest, play write, bishop, mystic poet and cardinal, in the often hard conditions in Poland. The second half deals with his policies as pope. Here is also a special focus on the Polish situation and how the pope exercised influence there. The book helps understanding the motivations of John Paul, even though one doesn't have to agree with him on all accounts.

An interesting, insightful book.

Perhaps the most brilliant biography of the 20th century  May 5, 2000
This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the life of one of the greatest and most influential popes ever, John Paul II. Through the author's exceptional work, we get to know the man who became John Paul II, and relive his early heartbreaks and triumphs. From Nazi occupied Poland to the modern day Vatican, all significant events are detailed and discussed. This is a biography to be reread time and again.

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