on 13 January 2002
With "Saints and Sinners", Duffy provides a beautiful, well-written, anecdote-rich account of the papacy. I originally approached this book when I needed some information on Pius IX, but the quality of the section covering his pontificate meant I just couldn't resist reading the rest of the book. The text is lively, witty and engaging; the pictures accompanying it well-selected and wonderful to look at. For anyone interested in learning more about one of the oldest institutions on earth, this book is highly recommended.
on 12 November 2011
I really enjoyed this book.
This book showed the good, the bad, and the ugly. It would make a great film, especially with the likes of Pope Leo X, Benedict VIII, and of course the Borgia pope. Overall, Mr Duffy goes light on the theology, and concentrates instead on the history and characters of the popes. And what an amazing bunch they were. Indeed, one or two didn't even believe in God! Many were only in it for anything they could get, which was plenty, and had no hesitation in lining their own pockets.
Others were just out for themselves. For anyone wishing to learn about the catholic church, warts and all, then this book comes highly recommended.
on 25 June 2005
A fabulous short history of the papacy, written by a great writer. Duffy manages to explain, in simple language accessible to all, how Rome's Bishops managed to position themselves as leaders of Western Christianity, and why they split from the Eastern Orthodox Church. Anyone interested in European history must take account of the popes and their influence, and I know of no other book that explains it as well.