"When Lord Acton said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, he had the Church in mind. The story of William O'Connell, Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, is a case study in just how far that corruption can go. Those who are familiar with the scandal he created would not be surprised at more recent scandals. The difference today, one hopes, at least prevents the ambition and arrogance from being buried in secrecy as the story of William O'Connell was." Andrew M. Greeley, priest, sociologist, author
"A well-written account of the ambitious rise to power of William Henry Cardinal O'Connell of Boston. The documents used for this story read like a bad script for a soap opera villain, but unfortunately recount the machinations of one of the most powerful churchmen in the history of the United States." Gerald P. Fogarty, S.J., professor of religious studies and history at the University of Virginia
"A biography of ideas and ideological struggles. Slawson outlines the history, but what most intrigued me is its account of O’Connell’s role in church politics." Commonweal
"Slawson's mining of Vatican sources . . . delineate[s] a depressingly full picture of O'Connell's use of money and playing of the Roman card to win Vatican support." The Catholic Historical Review
"Slawson makes extensive use of archival material, is adept at finding confirmatory evidence, and never goes beyond what can be asserted based on the written record. The work is an example of dispassionate scholarship." American Catholic Studies
About the Author
Douglas J. Slawson is an author, educator, and lecturer. His book, The Department of Education Battle: 19181932, won the Cushwa Prize awarded by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. He is also author of The Foundation and First Decade of the National Catholic Welfare Council and coauthor of Church and Slave in Perry County, Missouri: 18181865. His articles have appeared in journals such as The Americas, the Catholic Historical Review, The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History, and Lo Straniero. He earned a doctorate in history from The Catholic University of America and a master of divinity from De Andreis Institute of Theology, and he is currently a professor of history at National University in San Diego. He lives in San Diego.