The Power and the Glory: Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican

David Yallop, Author . Carroll & Graf $26.95 (530p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1956-3

Pope John Paul II was one of the most visible and influential figures of the late 20th century. He is credited with helping bring down communism, for popularizing the Solidarity movement in Poland and for advancing the devotion of the Virgin Mary, who he claimed interceded to save him from an assassination attempt in the early 1980s. According to investigative journalist Yallop, this is hardly the whole story about the late pontiff. Yallop paints a portrait of a pope who centralized authority as much as possible, quashed any sign of disobedience or rebellion within the Catholic Church and, while lambasting Catholics for getting involved in politics, was just as much a political figure as a religious one. The author seems to enjoy shooting holes in John Paul II's character, tarnishing many of the embellished stories that the pope's fans hold dear. Yallop has done exhaustive research for this project, but his journalistic objectivity is sometimes placed aside—clearly no fan of John Paul II, he posits quasiconspiracy theories about Vatican coverups and behind-the-scenes backstabbing. Still, the book also offers useful information that brings out the complex realities of the Catholic hierarchy and the papacy's role in world affairs. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 728 pages - 978-0-06-156554-0
Paperback - 530 pages - 978-0-465-01542-9
Open Ebook - 364 pages - 978-1-4721-0516-5
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