cover image Life: My Story Through History

Life: My Story Through History

Pope Francis. HarperOne, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-338752-2

Pope Francis (A Good Life) provides a plainspoken overview of how some of the most significant events of the 20th and early 21st centuries shaped his life and morals. Among other episodes, he examines how the news from Nazi Germany he heard during his childhood in Argentina awoke him to “the persecution of Jews”; remembers watching the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, a recollection that leads him to call for Christians to build “bridges instead of barriers”; and suggests that the events of September 11 offer a lesson in the importance of decrying “the use of the name of God to justify slaughter.” Elsewhere, Francis covers the creation of the EU, the 2007–2008 Great Recession, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite a tendency to meander (as when his recollection of the 1969 moon landing awkwardly launches into a critique of technology’s ills), readers will be fascinated by the insights into how these historical events influenced a transformative pope who broke with his more conservative predecessors by recognizing and blessing same-sex civil unions and entertaining the possibility that atheists could go to heaven. Catholics will value this chance to see the leader of their church in a fresh light. (Mar.)