A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century

A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century

by Paul Kengor
A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century

A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century

by Paul Kengor



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Even as historians credit Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II with hastening the end of the Cold War, they have failed to recognize the depth or significance of the bond that developed between the two leaders.

Acclaimed scholar and bestselling author Paul Kengor changes that.

In this fascinating book, he reveals a singular bond—which included a spiritual connection between the Catholic pope and the Protestant president—that drove the two men to confront what they knew to be the great evil of the twentieth century: Soviet communism.

Reagan and John Paul II almost didn't have the opportunity to forge this relationship: just six weeks apart in the spring of 1981, they took bullets from would-be assassins. But their strikingly similar near-death experiences brought them close together—to Moscow's dismay.Based on Kengor's tireless archival digging and his unique access to Reagan insiders, A Pope and a President is full of revelations. It takes you inside private meetings between Reagan and John Paul II and into the Oval Office, the Vatican, the CIA, the Kremlin, and many points beyond.

Nancy Reagan called John Paul II her husband's "closest friend"; Reagan himself told Polish visitors that the pope was his "best friend." When you read this book, you will understand why. As kindred spirits, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II united in pursuit of a supreme objective—and in doing so they changed history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684516353
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 07/18/2023
Format: eBook
Pages: 656
Sales rank: 756,208
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Paul Kengor, PhD, is the New York Times bestselling author of God and Ronald ­Reagan, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative, Dupes, The Communist, and other books. A professor of political science and the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, he has written for a range of popular and scholarly publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, National Review, Political Science Quarterly, Christianity Today, the National Catholic Register, and the National Catholic Reporter. Kengor has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, and many other outlets. He and his family live in Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents


May 13, 1981 Moscow Takes Its Shot 1

Part 1 Warnings and Beginnings

1 May 13, 1917 An Echo 13

2 October 26, 1917 The Devils Take Over 28

3 May 1920-June 1922: A Birth in Poland and a Rebirth in the Midwest 40

Part 2 Persecutions and Errors

4 1924-1939 The "Satanic Scourge" of Communism 53

5 1939-1945 "Blood, Blood, Blood, and Again Blood" 68

6 1945-1952 The Iron Curtain Descends 85

7 1956-1963 Crushing Hungary and Smearing Pius XII 94

8 November 22, 1963 Communism's Errors Reach Dallas 109

Part 3 Wojtyla and Reagan Rising

9 1946-1959 Battling Communists in Poland and Hollywood 125

10 The 1960s A Time for Choosing 137

11 May 6, 1975 The Dry Martyrdom of Cardinal Mindszenty 150

12 Summer of 1976 Two Freedom Fighters in America 156

13 1977-1978 "We Win and They Lose" 167

14 1978-1979 "Be Not Afraid" 177

15 1980-1981 An Era of Renewal 200

Part 4 Game Changers

16 March 30, 1981 A Bullet for a President 213

17 March 29-30, 1981 The Soviet Invasion That Wasn't 223

18 May 13, 1981 A (Soviet) Bullet for a Pope 245

19 May-September 1981 Commencement 259

20 December 13, 1981 Martial Law 269

21 January-June 1982 Face to Face in the Vatican 286

22 July-December 1982 Moscow Under Suspicion 306

23 1983 Dealing with an "Evil Empire" 319

24 March 25, 1984 The Consecration of Russia 344

25 May 1984 Together Again 353

26 October 19, 1984 The Martyrdom of Father Jerzy Popieluszko 363

27 March 1985 A New Kind of Soviet Leader 375

28 May 1985 A President in Portugal 380

29 May 1985 "The Russians Did It" 391

Part 5 Ending an Evil Empire

30 November 1985-Decembcr 1987 The President and the "Closet Christian" 421

31 December 8, 1987 An Immaculate Peace 431

32 June-December 1987 Reagan's Fátima Briefing 442

33 May-June 1988 Reagan's Mission to Moscow 462

34 June 1988 Ending the Soviet "War on Religion" 477

35 1989-1991 The Collapse of the Evil Empire 484

Part 6 Revelations and Goodbyes

36 May 13, 2000 The Third Secret of Fátima-Revealed 505

37 June 5, 2004 Ronald Reagan's Silent Goodbye 513

38 April 2, 2005 Divine Mercy for John Paul II 522

Epilogue: June 27, 2011 Kindred Spirits, Kindred Souls 535

Afterword for the Paperback Edition: 2018 New Answers to Lingering Questions 541

Acknowledgments 547

Notes 553

Index 623

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