His Holiness

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9780385472371: His Holiness

With the same meticulous reporting skills and narrative excitement that went into All the President's Men and The Final Days, journalists Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi provide an astonishing look at Pope John Paul II--the foremost political figure of our time. In their research, Bernstein and Politi have had unprecedented access to rare sources of information in Rome, Washington, and Moscow, including formerly top-secret Soviet files. Through these fascinating documents, His Holiness allows the reader a previously impossible glimpse inside the inner workings of the Soviet hierarchy, and shows how the Soviets recognized the serious threat John Paul II posed to their survival--even a the start of his papacy. Startling Politburo minutes show Brezhnev, Andropov, and other key figures heatedly discussing at length how to handle the pope--even within days of the nearly successful assassination attempt. Yet, John Paul II would come to dominate his era much as Churchill dominated his, ultimately fashioning an alliance with Reagan to reverse Yalta and hasten the demise of Communism.

Surprisingly, it was not for his political instincts that he rose through church ranks; rather he is the first prelate in history to rise to the papacy based on his work in the field of sexual morality--as writer, researcher, and counselor to young couples.

His Holiness succeeds where other studies have failed at capturing the humanness of John Paul II, and it explains the inner mysteries of the man who has set the Catholic Church on an unmistakable course that has both divided and uplifted the billion members of his church. What also emerges is the unknown story of a boy who turned to God after losing all his closest family members and whose unbelievable destiny was shaped by a youth in the midst of Nazi (and later Communist) Europe. However controversial, Pope John Paul II's iron will and strong convictions have made him the great moral leader of our time.

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Review:

Two veteran reporters, American Carl Bernstein (co-author of All the President's Men) and Italian Marco Politi have teamed up to present the case that Pope John Paul II worked closely with American political figures to cause the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Their conclusions are controversial, but His Holiness provides an insightful look at the connections between governments, the Catholic Church and the Solidarity movement in the Pope's native Poland.

Review:

Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Politi ... amass an impressive array of facts about the inner workings of the Vatican, the Pope's early life and dealings between the Pontiff and President Reagan's emissaries. -- The New York Times Book Review, Stephen Engelberg

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