Item description for John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father by Peggy Noonan...
Overview A portrait of Pope John Paul II recounts his struggles against such factors as Nazism, communism, and scandal, describing his work for freedom, his written works, his political endeavors, and his survival of an assassination attempt. By the author of When Character Was King. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.
Publishers Description From "New York Times" bestselling author Peggy Noonan comes "a beautifully written testimony about . . . the most historically recognized pope" ("Library Journal") With such accla imed books as "When Character Was King," Peggy Noonan has become one of our most eloquent and respected commentators. Now she offers a stirring portrait of a spiritual and intellectual giant who personally confronted all of the worst tragedies of his age. Drawing on scholarship, interviews with prominent Catholics, and her own experience, Noonan traces the extraordinary life and struggles of Pope John Paul II with characteristic insight and probity-and explores how much we can learn from his leadership, diplomacy, humility, and holiness. Passionate and often deeply personal, "John Paul the Great" is as exceptional as the man it celebrates.
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Studio: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.6" Width: 5" Height: 0.3" Weight: 0.18 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2006
Publisher Penguin Group USA
ISBN 0143037943 ISBN13 9780143037941
Availability 0 units.
More About Peggy Noonan
The 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Commentary, Peggy Noonan is the author of nine books, a weekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and was a primary speechwriter and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. Six of Noonan's books have been New York Times bestsellers. Noonan is a trustee of the Manhattan Institute. She makes regular appearances on CBS's Face the Nation, ABC's This Week and NBC's Meet The Press.
Peggy Noonan currently resides in the state of New York. Peggy Noonan was born in 1950.
Reviews - What do customers think about John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father?
A Measure of Greatness Mar 22, 2007
There can be little doubt that the late Pope John Paul II has been the dominant religious figure of the last fifty years. From the time rose to the papal seat to his recent passing, he exhibited a combination of intellectual clarity, media mastery, incredible charisma, and personal holiness that will likely remain unmatched by any figure on the public stage for some time to come.
Given the qualities of the late pontiff, effective communicating his cultural influence can be a daunting task. A mere bigraphical approach that details the events of his life really will not do justice to the man as his life was far more than a series of events and extended to the manner in which he elicited a response from the faithful. Peggy Noonan understands this connundrum and masterfully presents a fitting tribute to the pope she obviously loved and admired in John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father. In a series of vignettes that focus on key elements of the longest papal reign in recent memory, Noonan combines history and anecdote in a powerful mix that fleshes out the reality of the late pope's overwhelming presence on the world stage.
The key to the insight provided by Ms. Noonan is that besides being a keen observer of world events, she is also a convert to the Catholic faith who looked to Pope John Paul II for spiritual leadership. For one cannot truly understand the late pontiff without understanding the source of his spiritual strength. Without armies and weapons, he manged to have the leaders of superpowers trembling. In this superb tribute, we can see why such trembling occurs despite the lack of earthly power. It was a spiritual battle that Pope John Paul II waged against the "culture of death" and even in the wake of recent scandals in the Catholic Church, he could not and would not be silenced.
Overall, John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father has provided us with a great tribute to a great man. In an era dominated by the shallowness of the media culture, words like "great" get thrown around carelessly at the mediocre. When we do finally come face-to-face with true greatness, we no longer know how to react and often feel threatened. Only those who realize the source of the greatness Pope John Paul II possessed was not of himself could come to grips with his legacy and with this book Peggy Noonan fully grasps the source of his greatness.
Good, But... Mar 9, 2007
This book is well-written, typical of what you would expect from Peggy Noonan. My only criticism is that she, like most of the American media, seems inordinately obsessed by the priest sexual abuse scandal (she devotes the bulk of two chapters to this topic).
She says that JP II is "guilty" of not doing more about this; yet regarding the worldwide rise of secularism, she does a near-180 and completely exonerates him of any blame. I see this as a lack of consistency on her part.
The more I read, the more I wondered whether her own son might have been a victim of abuse. If that were the case, it would certainly explain much of this curious inconsistency.
A Loving Portrait of a Great and Holy Man Dec 14, 2006
To be perfectly honest, Peggy Noonan is not an author whose work I have generally found to be appealing and I only decided to buy this one because of a TV appearance she made promoting the book. In that interview she exhibited a clear sincerity and love for her subject that made me decide to give this book a try. Noonan is of course a very partisan figure and not one that I am apt to agree with very often. Even in a book like this she couldn't resist taking a shot at the Bill and Hillary Clinton but otherwise she managed to leave politics out and I must admit that I was very impressed and deeply moved by this book.
This is not so much a traditional biography of John Paul II as it is the story of how this great man affected one life, that life being the life of Peggy Noonan. Traditional biographies of this great and Holy man are all easy to find and many of them are very good but for the most part they miss out on a very important facet of John Paul's life. That being the effect that he had on millions of individuals from all around the world. Sure he was a intellectual giant, sure he was a great mystic, sure he was a major player in the fall of the Eastern Block and Soviet Russia, sure his impact will be felt on the institutions of the Church for generations to come and he is most assuredly a Saint but there was more. Much more!
This was a man who reached out to people and made them feel special. In John Paul many of us found a spiritual father, as did this author. She only met this Pope on a couple of occasions and I never met him but I felt a closeness to him that is really beyond description. So did Noonan and she does a fabulous job of telling the story of her connection to this great man. The story of the impact that John Paul had on the life of this author and so many millions of other lives is a very important part of his story and this book tells this part of his story in a very moving way.
Despite her great love for John Paul, Noonan does not sugar coat history in this book and she does point out his shortcomings. She is especially hard on the Church leadership regarding the sex scandals that have rocked the American Church over the last few years. She has apparently been very hard on the Church leaders in her columns and when she attended the Beatification ceremony for Mother Teresa she ran into Cardinal Law and they seem to have had words. The very presence of Cardinal Law at the Vatican is a disgrace and I say bravo Peggy Noonan for telling it like it is. I have no clout but with people like Peggy Noonan leading the charge maybe some day Law will get the defrocking and excommunication that he so richly deserves.
No, this is not a book that will give readers a new knowledge of the historical John Paul II. This is instead a book that takes a look at John Paul the Saint, the man who touched us all. Read the other biographies but do not make the mistake of missing out on this aspect of his ministry. To do so would be to miss out on what was truly remarkable about this star of Poland, this John Paul the Great.
Not Much About Pope John Paul II Dec 10, 2006
For me John Paul The Great was a major disappointment. Having read and enjoyed Peggy Noonan's columns in the Wall Street Journal for years, I was looking for a good in depth story about the pope. Unfortunately, this book is not so much about the pope, but about the influence the pope had on Ms. Noonan's spiritual renewal and embracing of the Catholic faith.
It is also apparent from Ms. Noonan's comments that she did not have a close relationship with the pope that she could draw upon in writing the book. Rather, her knowledge of the pope was gathered from afar, much like most of us who saw him on television or read about him in the media. If my recollection is correct, she only had two very short audiances with the pope.
The book also tends to ramble about Ms. Noonan's internal struggles with spirituality. Some readers may find this of interest, but since I was looking for insight into the life of John Paul, I was disappointed.
However, the book is not without merit. I for one found the chapter on The Great Shame very interesting and Ms. Noonan's comments parallel exactly how I feel toward the Catholic Church's inability to deal with the child molestation issues. As a Catholic myself, I have been outraged and angered over how the church bishops have handled this issue and they continue to act in a state of denial. The only way this issue is ever going to be satisfactorily resolved is to bring complete transparency to the actions of the church. Unfortuately, the Church continues to maintain a vail of secrecy. Ms. Noonan pulls no punches in critising the American bishops over their behavior regarding the sexual coverup.
If you have an interest in the personal life of Peggy Noonan, I would recommend that you read this book. If not, you may want to pass on this one.
Good book about a great man Dec 8, 2006
I give this book a good rating because this book is very honest and decent. It is not really a deep biography as much as it is a light biography with some of Ms. Noonan's own personal disclosures of her own spiritual journey through Christianity. The book to me was inspirational in that it made me think about my own Christian journey and lead to some very good insight on how all of us can be better people. Although I am a Catholic I have only been one for about 4 years after being an Evangelical Protestant for twenty fives years prior. I wish that I knew more about John Paul II and studied him before I became Catholic. I am coming to see that he was really a great man who really loved God and his fellow man. My only criticism of the book is that Ms. Noonan tends to go off on a rabbit trail or two and just when you think that there is going to be a big climax to what she got sidetracked on, the story sort of fizzles out.
This is a short read and it does deal with some of the more major events that occured during the Pope's life. For instance I didn't know that the man who shot John Paul II had lied about his reasons for doing so and changed his story numerous times over the years. I didn't know that John Paul's mother was a seamstress as was Margarette Thatcher's and Ronald Reagan's. Of course all three were instrumental in bringing an end to communism in Europe and the Soviet Union. Finally there is a small history lesson on Pope John Paul I which some may find interesting. It seems that John Paul I did not want to be Pope and knew that he time as Pope was going to be very short.
This is a good read, however if you are expecting a major history lesson concerning Pope John Paul II, this is not the best source. If you are looking for some information on John Paul II along with some very inspirational writing you will be pleased. I give the book five stars for a good read, minus one due to the number of rabbit trails the authors tends to go off on.