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A Thief in the Night: Life and Death in the Vatican Paperback – May 1, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone interested in the death of the 33-day Pope should read this book as it is the Vatican's side of the story. It was commissioned by Rome in order to quell rumors of foul play in the 33-day-Pope's death raised by David Yallop's best seller `In God's Name.' In exchange for Cornwell's promise to conclude the Pope died of a 'heart attack,' the Vatican permitted him to interview some of those who had been in the papal palace the night the Pope died. The most important of these witnesses to Cornwell's conclusion the Pope died of'pulmonary embolism' was John MaGee who, by coincidence, at about the same time (1987) was made a bishop. One can only surmise this was a tit-for-tat deal. (seatch Google: Bishop John MaGee).
A more recent book has the advantage of time - things we know today that we didn't know when these things happened. Lucien Gregoire's The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I employs what is known by the medical community today which was not known when Cornwell wrote his book. Any member of the medical profession today will tell you it is impossible to determine the cause of an unwitnessed death unless the cause of death is obvious. The cause of such a death can only determined by autopsy - something the Vatican refused to perform.
To conclude the Pope's condition of 'low blood pressure' contributed to the Pope's `heart attack' or, for that matter, 'pulmnonary embolism' may have been a sound conclusion twenty years ago, but not today. As late as 1987, when Cornwell wrote his book, it was believed that low blood pressure could be a factor in 'heart attack' or 'pulmonary embolism.Read more ›
In short, no. In fact, Cornwell's record is no better in this book than it would be in "Hitler's Pope." Cornwell's lies begin with the way his book was researched and written. He says that he just happened to be visiting the Vatican researching another subject in October 1987 when Archbishop Foley practically begged him to drop what he was doing and write about the death of Pope John Paul I. Not only is this entirely contrary to the Vatican's usual methods, Archbishop Foley and the Vatican have repeatedly denied that they commissioned the book. And though he does do something to counteract the absurd conspiracy theory about John Paul I's death put forward by David Yallop, Cornwell did the Vatican and the Church no favors with his work.
Many of those interviewed for the book, including Marjorie Weeke, Sister Irma Dametto, and the Pope's niece, Lina Petri, as well as Cornwell's two main witnesses, Don Diego Lorenzi and Bishop John Magee, John Paul I's secretaries in the Vatican, have denounced Cornwell for his MANY errors and misinterpretations of fact.Read more ›
All of his extensive look into this quagmire called the Vatican can be summarized by his words: "The whisperings, the rumors, the theories--farfetched, sensational, fantastic--all serve a purpose: they deflect attention from the most obvious and shameful fact of all; that John Paul I died scorned and neglected by the institution that existed to sustain him." (pg. 336)
This well capsulizes what his peering into the event surfaced. Amazing inner look at this huge, off-limits to most of us, major religious institution.
His analysis his thorough, he wants evidence that is credible. He sifts out things well, and strings them together to make sense, or breaks up strings which won't hold together.
The stuff with the Vatican Bank and its director is shameful, and Cornwell discloses this with dignity, yet allows real inner struggles to be seen.
Worth the read. His hypothesis of what occurred from his investigation is fascinating, and has all the signs and tastes of close to the truth.
He is a good writer and novelist as he describes the characters we are introduced to: Marcinkus has warts, another priest has decaying food particles on his clothes, another yellow teeth, the Pope peers up at him through scrutinizing eyes. The chapters are, thankfully, short and his "investigation" is light reading and light lifting.
Compared with Yallop's multi-layered almost incomprehensible depth, this is a walk in the park.
While applauding his effort, I am not convinced.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an extraordinary tale and one of which I was only vaguely aware. I would say that Cornwell wrings as much drama as he can out of this story, but I do have to say also that... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tom Diaz
A great book, but apparently not sexy enough to br big seller..Published 9 months ago by Edmond E. Bliven
This is a compelling page turner, setting the record more accurately for the circumstances surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I. Read morePublished 20 months ago by djbinthecosmos
Anyone interested in the death of John Paul I should read three books. David Yallop's In God's Name: An Investigation Into the Murder of Pope John Paul I John Cornwell's A Thief in... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr. Alexis Bishop
I bought this for a gift. If you are Catholic you will probably like it. I have no idea what it is about.Published on March 29, 2014 by D. Beach
Considering the subject matter, this book could have been a very difficult read. However, because of the format that is was written in, the book kept the readers attention the... Read morePublished on August 22, 2011 by John O'Connor
An investigation by John Cornwell, an editor of the 'London Observer', into the mysterious circumstance surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I just thirty-three days after he... Read morePublished on August 5, 2007 by M. A. Ramos