The Universal Father: A Life of John Paul II [NOOK Book]

Overview

Pope John Paul II is universally considered one of the great leaders of the twentieth century for his resolute resistance to Soviet Communism, for his steadfast opposition to war, and for opening up the papacy to ordinary people. He 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 experiences were of intense love and...
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The Universal Father: A Life of John Paul II

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Overview

Pope John Paul II is universally considered one of the great leaders of the twentieth century for his resolute resistance to Soviet Communism, for his steadfast opposition to war, and for opening up the papacy to ordinary people. He 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 experiences were of 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 athlete, a gifted poet, playwright and actor, by 1944, after a near fatal accident, Wojtyla was studying for the priesthood in secret. So began a lifelong quest to understand good and evil in the human heart.
Five years in the making, Universal Father is a vivid and scrupulously researched portrait of this extraordinary man. Beginning with Wojtyla's trying childhood and his early years as a priest in rural Poland, and continuing on to his travels to Rome, and his subsequent papal reign, O'Connor's biography is unparalleled for the attention it also gives to the inner man-including a subtle analysis of the pope's own poems, plays, and philosophical works. An exploration of both the personal tragedies in the pope's life, among them the assassination attempt in 1981, and the public triumphs, such as the great public confrontations with Soviet Communism in his native Poland, Universal Father is a revealing and profoundly moving testament.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Though dozens of authoritative titles about one of the world's most recognized men exist on bookshelves across the globe, this addition has unique merit. O'Connor (William Shakespeare: A Popular Life), an accomplished biographer and a well-connected Vatican insider, bases his insightfully written and thoroughly researched text on scholarly sources and interviews heretofore not articulated in the popular press. The text is divided into four distinct phases of Pope John Paul II's life: "1920-1946," "1946- 1978," "1978-1990," and "1990- 2005." Each phase balances fact with anecdotal evidence, which lends the biography both credibility and charm. That this biography was written before the Pope's death in April 2005 does not detract from its comprehensiveness. In addition to various details about and insights into the Pope's life, O'Connor includes more than 30 pages of notes, a chronology of the Pope, and documents he authored. This timely and remarkable biography will be sought after by serious readers. Recommended for all libraries collecting material on Catholicism or contemporary biography.-John-Leonard Berg, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Platteville Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
New York Sun
"A warm, humane, and lively portrait, fresh and original in its depiction of the pope."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596918696
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/12/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Garry O'Connor has been a major and prolific English biographer since his life of Ralph Richardson, published in 1980, was hailed in The New York Times Book Review as "Stunning... the best biography of an actor I've ever read," and by the London Sunday Times as an "astounding book, original in form and fascinating in content." He has subsequently written highly praised lives of Sean O'Casey, Peggy Ashcroft, Paul Scofield and William Shakespeare and, most recently, Alec Guinness. He lives in England with his wife and six children.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Picture Credits ix
Maps xi
Preface 1
Part 1 A Slav Troubadour in Troubled Times (1920-46)
1 Like Death, Beyond Comprehension 5
2 I Became a Motherless Only Child 15
3 When the Ship Is Sinking, What Is Private? 25
4 Vita Cracoviensis 46
5 The Year of Three Plays 56
6 Equilibrium Which Love Learns Through Anger 65
7 The Actor Carries the Problem 75
8 Hidden Forces Produce the Strongest Actions 88
9 The Black Hood Went over His Head 102
Part 2 The Hidden Breath of the Spirit Will Unify All (1946-78)
10 Living in Little More than a Hut 109
11 My train to Krakow Isn't until after Midnight 124
12 Sexual Drive Is a Gift from God 140
13 The Tangle of Bushes and Shoots 154
14 Was this Goodbye to the Inner Man? 162
15 Death, the Place of Greatest Concentration 174
Part 3 The Pope of this Distracted Globe (1978-90)
16 Peter, You Are the Floor 197
17 He's cleaned up His Plate 208
18 Other Points of the Compass 224
19 Opening the Ways of the Spirit 233
20 Be Sober, Be Watchful 242
21 Siege or Sanctuary? 256
22 The Ravelled Sleeve of Christianity 264
23 What Do They Think I Said Next? 278
24 Now for the Polish Endgame 281
Part 4 The Nearer we Are to the Mountain, the Smaller we Are (1990-2005)
25 Was He Losing the Plot? 303
26 The Connection with Suffering 314
27 Still Seeking to Heal 319
28 True Protagonist of the Story 332
29 The Outward Husk of Mortality 341
30 Final Lighting of the Lamp 347
Epilogue 354
Notes 359
Chronology 393
Documents of John Paul II 403
Select bibliography 411
Acknowledgements 423
Index 425
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Recipe

UNIVERSAL FATHER: A Life of John Paul II

Pope John Paul II is universally considered one of the great leaders of the twentieth century for his resolute resistance to Soviet Communism, for his steadfast opposition to war, and for opening up the papacy to ordinary people. He 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 experiences were of 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 athlete, a gifted poet, playwright and actor, by 1944, after a near fatal accident, Wojtyla was studying for the priesthood in secret. So began a lifelong quest to understand good and evil in the human heart.

Five years in the making, Universal Father is a vivid and scrupulously researched portrait of this extraordinary man. Beginning with Wojtyla’s trying childhood and his early years as a priest in rural Poland, and continuing on to his travels to Rome, and his subsequent papal reign, O’Connor’s biography is unparalleled for the attention it also gives to the inner man—including a subtle analysis of the pope’s own poems, plays, and philosophical works. An exploration of both the personal tragedies in the pope’s life, among them the assassination attempt in 1981, and the public triumphs, such as the great public confrontations with Soviet Communism in his native Poland, Universal Father is arevealing and profoundly moving testament.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    We're missing your equanimity

    If you asked me "why are you writing this in the context of `Book Review" about the late Pope, I wouldn't be able to answer you, because I don't know. I simply felt here is an extraordinary account of blessed faith on the one hand and plagued by questions over political acrimonies blended together to clone a `man's world of power', on the other. <BR/><BR/>Perhaps the many adverse comments made about `Islam' prompts me to write this review. <BR/><BR/>Such comments could have far reaching consequences if not handled with equanimity and self-restraint. <BR/><BR/>Pope John Paul II: we are missing your equanimity and self-restraint. <BR/><BR/>Unfortunately our planet is already full of mental and emotional instabilities from groups living in different and dissimilar countries that many will not accept, by their own interpretations, many comments being made by about the concept of holy war.<BR/> <BR/>For instance, how will the `large' Muslim communities in France, England, Germany and Holland (even in Italy) reacted to the Pope's statements? Notably by those too many who, after the second or third generations, could not mix. <BR/>Nor could they have any sense of connection (speaking the language is not enough) with the local common tradition and usage so long established and became the force of practices followed by the `real-ethnic-group' French, English, Germans, Dutch and Italians. <BR/><BR/>In fact, on face value, I cannot see much of a rationale in anyone's remarks about the faith of others.<BR/> <BR/>By reasons intrinsic in their faith-and-glory filled history, coupled with feelings of disparity and local inequities, many Muslims in Europe and America are much given to ritual customs. <BR/><BR/>On the basis of personal experience and perception, and for its very natural importance, this Pope's era tends to be one of those moments in history for which no record, written journals or even first-person reportage should reasonably be able to describe the actual events that would soon be unfolding. <BR/>The word `soon' in history does not necessarily mean `promptly or quickly'. <BR/>`Without hesitation' is, perhaps, more appropriate. <BR/><BR/>This book about the late John Paul II may be the end of an era. No book has so far been written about the beginning of another.

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