Acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto strips away the legends from the life of Francis of Assisi to reveal the true story of a man who has too often been obscured by pious iconography. Drawing on unprecedented access to unexplored archives, plus Francis's own letters, Spoto places Francis within the context of the multifaceted ecclesiastical, political, and social forces of medieval Italy, casting new light on Francis and showing how his emphasis on charity as the heart of the Gospel's message helped him pioneer a new social movement. This nuanced portrait reveals the multifaceted character of a man who can genuinely be said to have changed the course of history.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||324 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Celebrity biographer Spoto who is recognized for his definitive biographies of such luminaries as Tennessee Williams, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ingrid Bergman is also a biblical scholar. For over twenty years he taught theology on the college level, which may well have been rich background for his acclaimed "The Hidden Jesus" (1998). He now turns his attention to another religious figure - Saint Francis of Assisi. If ever there was an unlikely candidate for sainthood it was Francis. He came from a prosperous family, was rebellious, served as a soldier, and made a place for himself in the business world of his time. Is this the Francis that we revere today because of his unselfish kindness and compassion? The story of his transformation, although probably well known, is presented with fresh insights by Spoto. The author views Francis from the standpoint of history, and infuses his biography with telling details of religion and society during Francis's day. Given these insights our traditional view of the saint is enhanced. In addition, readers learn a great deal about the turmoil and violence which was rampant in medieval Italy. After reading this thoughtful study one no longer sees Francis as a thin other worldly figure surrounded by animals. That stereotypical picture is replaced by a portrait of an authentic human being, thanks to Donald Spoto.
I read The Reluctant Saint twice and will probably read it many times to come. For those of us who loved the film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, this book offers a rare look into the true humanity of Francis and offers historical and biographical fact without depriving us of the romance in this glorious life!
I really enjoyed this biography. I was surprised that I was learning details about the original ideas and the Crusades that I was not aware of. It is a short biography, 215 pages not counting notes and bibliography. The author Donald Spoto, implies that he did a lot of research with an ever increasing body of research. He pulls no punches in being critical of a decadent era and a Catholic Church that was more interested with power and property then with the peace of Jesus.
I just finished Reluctant Saint for the second time. Detailed, objective and easy to follow, it provides great insight into Francis the man. Highly recommended for anyone traveling to Assisi, as the significance of some key locations in Francis' life and ministry are explained. The only shortcoming I find is the story ends with Francis' death (understandable for a biography) and doesn't go into his legacy - an overview of how the Franciscan order evolved would have made for a nice wrap up.