His Holiness

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9780140266917: His Holiness

With compelling journalism, drama, history, and biography, this detailed chronicle of the life and circumstances surrounding Pope John Paul II draws on hundreds of interviews with key players and explores how the Vatican has gained new power under his control. Reprint."

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Was the fall of Communism a direct result of a covert confederation between the U.S. government and the Vatican? So claim reporters Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi in His Holiness. Citing meetings between Pope John Paul II and high-level officials in the Reagan administration--including William Casey, director of the C.I.A.--they point to a "secret alliance" as the factor that sealed the collapse of Communism. The evidence marshaled by Bernstein and Politi--ranging from formerly secret American diplomatic cables to formerly secret Soviet Politburo minutei--doesn't always justify their bold conclusion, but it does provide plenty of new information about a key set of events in modern history.

From the Inside Flap:

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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