Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vol. 1. The Person and His Work by Jean-Pierre Torrel
I do not know why Amazon only asked me to review volume 2 since I order both volumes together. But if you read the first volume you THEN will want the second volume. Torrell is fascinating in his 'biography' because A. he sticks strictly to the facts which is B. written materials as contemporary as possible with Aquinas if not actually in his own hand which in turn mean C. you learn about his works in some detail with fascinating side notes [Torrell once quotes Nietzsche's ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA to make a point about Aquinas and what he says about the prologue of the early COMMENTARY ON BOETHIUS' HEBDOMADS is absolutely astounding and led me into a side spate of reading to understand the meaning and context of that!] that truly give you an IN DEPTH picture in Aquinas' contemporary context without modern day hagiographic glossing over of things inexplicable or possibly embarrassing as `inappropriate' for whatever reason. It is ABSOLUTELY essential to a REAL UNDERSTANDING of Aquinas!