This intimate, affectionate portrait of Pope John Paul II by his
longtime secretary and confidant reveals fascinating new details about
the opinions, hopes, fears, and dramatic life of this public man.
Dziwisz was sitting next to the Pope during
the assassination attempt in 1981. He recounts the Pope's reaction to
9/11, describing his thoughts and feelings on that day. And the
Cardinal’s moving description of the Pope’s haunting memories of World
War II uncovers the roots of the pontiff’s intense opposition to George
W. Bush’s war on Iraq.
The two men shared moments of fun and
spontaneity as well. Dziwisz writes about the times the Pope would slip
out of the Vatican, wearing a Panama hat, to stroll the streets of
Rome, and he describes the clandestine ski and hiking trips the pair
made to escape the Vatican. His firsthand account of the Pope’s last
years also reveals that John Paul II considered resigning. These
stories and others lend added poignancy to Dziwisz’s extraordinary
portrayal of the Pope’s courage and calmness during his final illness.
“Despite the hagiographical tone, one thing is
clear—John Paul was a formidable world figure in the latter half of the
20th century, and he never allowed his position to affect his ability
to be a good friend.” —Publishers Weekly