'The Pope In Winter' seemed to be a fairly balanced look at the life and policy of Pope John Paul. I guess any religious biography is going to be controversial and that staunch catholics will be upset at some of the ideas explored here. The one, and main, thing in this books defence is that the author is a catholic and has a great deal of access and experience of Vatican events. At times some of the chapters rambled and the style wasn't too easy to plow through (hence the 3 stars) but generally it was a good read and put across it's ideas clearly. Some of the more esoteric and philosophical religious ideas were a bit of a chore, but relevant to the overall themes of the book. This book has some excellent colour plate sections showing the pope at various ages and times in his life, some flattering and others less so, but as he was only human it is good to see him in various human poses and situations. The overall message is that Pope John Paul changed the papacy quite dramatically and it explains how. I guess it depends on your own personal views to see whether you feel those changes were positive or negative, but this book goes some way in helping you make that choice. A good read, with some interesting ideas to explore and recommended for a more balanced view of Catholicism and the papacy rather than the glossy image portrayed by the Vatican and it's supporters.
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