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His Holiness Paperback – August 1, 1997

3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Was the fall of Communism a direct result of a covert confederation between the U.S. government and the Vatican? So claim reporters Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi in His Holiness. Citing meetings between Pope John Paul II and high-level officials in the Reagan administration--including William Casey, director of the C.I.A.--they point to a "secret alliance" as the factor that sealed the collapse of Communism. The evidence marshaled by Bernstein and Politi--ranging from formerly secret American diplomatic cables to formerly secret Soviet Politburo minutei--doesn't always justify their bold conclusion, but it does provide plenty of new information about a key set of events in modern history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An in-depth study of the papacy?what a leap of faith for a guy who helped break the Watergate story. Bernstein is joined by Italian journalist Politi, who has covered the papacy for 15 years.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140266917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140266917
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Among the many books written about Pope John Paul II, the book by Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi, His Holiness, stands out. That's because it's focus is on the role played by the Pope, working along with the Reagan Administration, in causing the fall of communism.

This was a delicate balancing act for John Paul. As Stalin so famously pointed out about a previous pope, he had no military power, only moral and spiritual power. As they recount his first trip as Pope back to Poland

"What was talking place now in Warsaw's Victory Square was a breakthrough to unknown horizons. John Paul II never uttered a word that might lead directly to a confrontation between Church and state, between the party and Christian believers, but everything he said marked the beginning of a grand turnabout for the Church -- in Poland, in Eastern Europe, in the Soviet Union, in world affairs. Through him the Church was laying claim to a new role, no longer simply asking space for itself. Through him it was demanding respect for human rights as well as for Christian values, respect for every man and woman and for the autonomy of the individual. These demands represented a direct assault on the universal pretensions of Marxist ideology, which by now had become an empty shell in the countries under Soviet influence."

A campaign just by Solidarity, even aided by the Pope, may have gotten no farther than the Hungarians in 1956 or the Czechs in 1968. What was different now was that the West, especially the Reagan Administration in the US, and Margaret Thatcher's government in Great Britain, had moved away from detente and began to actively push back. John Paul II had similarly moved away from the Ostpolitik of Pope Paul VI.
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By A Customer on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bernstein and Politi's biography of the Holy Father, John Paul II, is informative and intriguing, but these secular journalists just can't resist the temptation to harp on the same issues the world has with the Catholic Church.
Bernstein and Politi explode the myth that John Paul I was murdered in a "Vatican conspiracy," but they cannot see past the conspiracy to spread calumny against the Pope of WWII, Pius XII. When speaking of John Paul II's life during the war and later of his work as Pope to improve relations between Catholics and Jews, Bernstein and Politi cannot resist slamming Pius XII for his alleged "silence" and "inactivity" in saving Jews, when the fact is that the Orthodox Jewish scholar Pinchas Lapide has estimated that Pius XII and the Catholic Church were responsible for saving over 800,000 Jews from the Nazis.
Then there are the attempts by Bernstein and Politi to flog the dead horses of artificial contraception, abortion, and women's ordination. Instead of acknowledging that John Paul II is merely witnessing to the two thousand year tradition of the Catholic Church in denouncing artificial contraception, abortion, and women's ordination as incompatible with Christianity, these supposedly objective journalists attempt to psychoanalyze the Holy Father. According to these two, instead of upholding Catholic doctrine, the only reason the Holy Father condemns these things and at the same time reaffirms the sanctity of life and the holy vocation of motherhood is because he misses his mommy. Please! Of course the Holy Father's mother, Emilia Wojtyla, was an important influence on her son's life but this kind of amateur psychoanalysis on the parts of Bernstein and Politi is insulting not only to John Paul II but to those who already consider him John Paul the Great.
The authors' obviously liberal bias makes one question the rest of this biography's credibility and objectivity.
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Format: Hardcover
I started off really liking this book. The coverage of the Pope's early life up until his ascencion to the throne was very interesting and pretty well-done. Once he got to the papacy, there were two significant problems. First of all, there were whole sections that dealt with the CIA and other government agencies and didn't talk about the Pope very much. More troubling was what the authors did to the story after the fall of communism. It was like a totally different book. The immediately began using words like "angry" and "snapped" and "reactionary" and "militant" to describe the Pope's stand on moral issues. After championing him as a her in the fight against communism, they made him seem like a grumpy old man who can't keep up with the times when he dared to take a firm stance against abortion or the ordination of women priests. I threw the book away when I was done. Be smarter than me and don't buy it in the beginning!
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Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent example of the importance of choosing powerful words to lead the reader in a certain direction. It doesn't matter whether the words are factual and substantiated or not--powerful words can create powerful ideas in one's mind. How sad that two respected journalists stooped so low in a book that had the potential to be a very informative, educational read. I found their tactics disgusting!
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Format: Hardcover
Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi, investigative journalist, argue that Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan conspired to hasten the collapse of Soviet Communism. Some of the evidence they cite includes the CIA's support of the Polish Solidarity Movement and the sharing of American military intelligence with the Pope.

There is a brief history of Pope John Paul II's life and his ascendancy to the Seat of Peter. The coverage of the Pope's early life up until his ascension to the throne was very interesting and pretty well done. And we get a brief look inside of the Vatican's political apparatus. Even though I felt that there appears to be an anti-Catholic agenda in the later half of the book, it is worth reading. John Paul II was a gift to the world in our lifetime whose main message was that we could be better than we are. The author seems to forget that the Pope is Catholic first and last. He always did take the highest Catholic stance on matters of faith and morals as would be expected of a pontiff. I found this an interesting and fast read.
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