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God's Fool: The Life of Francis of Assisi (Perennial library) Paperback – September 2, 1987


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Frequently Bought Together

God's Fool: The Life of Francis of Assisi (Perennial library) + Francis of Assisi: A Revolutionary Life + Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi (Compass)
Price for all three: $42.40

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Product Details

  • Series: Perennial library
  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st THUS edition (September 2, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060634642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060634643
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julien Green, novelist and diarist, is the celebrated author of more than forty books, including The Closed Garden, The Transgressor, Moira, The Other Sleep, and Journals, 1938-1971. A pivotal figure in the Paris literary scene of the 1920s and 1930s, he became in 1971 the only American writer to be elected to the Academie Française.

Customer Reviews

Hmm, that sounds like a lot of us.
Benjamin Devey
This is a book that is both an easy read yet a thoughful read.
Roy S. Barnard
The best biography of St. Francis out there.
Eric H.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By driley7@gte.net on October 13, 1997
This book isn't a mere biography of St. Francis. Instead, it is a guide to the ethos and pathos that made Francis a saint.
From a startlingly clear sighted examination of Francis's youth through to the unvarnished look at his death, this work rings true in the way the many "pious accounts" do not. And yet, despite staying true to the historical nature of Francis (who once said "Don't make a Saint of me too quickly, I am still perfectly capable of fathering a child"), the book resounds forcefully with the charism of this special folk hero.
St. Francis's simple and unyielding commitment to take the Gospel seriously is a challenge to every Christian. This book makes that challenge clear and unambigious.
I have read many biographies and collections of stories about St. Francis. This is one of the few, I think, that might not make the Seraphic Father wince.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on August 24, 2000
There are few books that deserve a full five stars as much as God's Fool. I love this book. Julien Green has written a compelling, thoughtful, and moving picture of St. Francis. Green lovingly synthesizes a ton of material about Francis into a story about what can happen to a fully human, fully sinful person when they are touched by the love of God. God's Fool was a joy to read. There are not many books that I have enjoyed more. I recommend it wholeheartedly to everybody.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By eperry@clarionherald.org on July 1, 1998
This book is one of the best written about St. Francis of Assisi. Unlike many saint biographies that make their subjects so virtuous they are stripped of their humanity, "God's Fool" gives us an inspiring, human role model to which we can all relate. This book inspired me and countless others to become secular Franciscans and attempt to follow his example.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1997
God's Fool brings depth and color to one of the Church's most beloved Saints. Julien Green does so much more than just describe the events of Francis's life. He describes the daily life of his medieval family, friends and neighbors. This, in turn, really helped me feel just how much Francis was sacrificing by abandoning a future of knighthood, nobility and wealth. I could feel the anguish in his mother's heart, the anger of his father's fist and the confusion in his brother's mind. This illustration of one of the most remarkable spiritual journeys since the original apostles, can be contageous. The desire to run to the nearest Franciscan monastery is almost overwhelming, even for a traditional Protestant
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2001
Verified Purchase
[At the request of the person who commented to my review, editing to identify myself. At least I hope this works....O.K. it won't let me change the "By" information so I'm having to add my name to the review title. Sorry about that]

This is the richest, most truthful (and beautiful) biography of St. Francis of Assisi that I know. It is also sometimes painful in its honesty.

To address a few points raised by Mr. Alsruhe (below).

-- You are quite right that Francis discouraged the possession of Bibles and Psalters among his followers. Since he lived about 300 years before the invention of the printing press, such items were hand-written, were few and far between, and were seen as signs of wealth and luxury. If you know anything about the Franciscan charism, you know that their chief vow is to live the poverty of Christ (and in my own fairly thorough study of the Bible, I don't remember reading anything about Christ carrying around copies of the Scriptures either). In Francis' day most people could not read in the first place and relied on others preaching and teaching from the Scriptures to learn about the Gospel life.

-- Francis' regard for the Scriptures was so high that he radically changed his entire life on the strength of a few verses from it. Few "Christians" today would step out as far as he did in faith.

-- Francis' approach to corruption in the Church (which I fully agree was a real problem) is the best one possible. He set about reforming from the inside. Due to his example, the Church was powerfully renewed. Christ did not ask Francis to build a new Church, but to rebuild the old.

-- That Francis was flawed and human there is no doubt.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on November 13, 1998
Verified Purchase
This book is far more than a biography. It is an inspiring description of Frances' coversion and transformation filled with spiritual insight.I read this in conjunction with Patti Normile's Following St.Francis of Assisi. The two books provide a wonderful introduction to Franciscan thought and spirituality
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By sergeant_al on December 20, 2001
After reading the other reviews I was almost afraid to write anything at all.
I thought this was a well-written version of St. Francis' life. For more detail, read Celano, his biographer. I would suggest reading both.
I liked this version. It really spent a good deal of time exploring who St. Francis was both before and after his calling from God. It painted a fairly detailed look at what life was like back then. Good job looking at his family and other influences.
The book was well done. If you have a problem with St. Francis, then I don't know of any book on him you would like.
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