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The Pope's Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI's Campaign to Stop Hitler Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 19, 2013
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“An exciting reminder of how Vatican machinations continue to haunt history.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Gripping. ... Finally, the story of a lost opportunity that could have affected the course of history can now be told.” (Voice of Reason)
Top Customer Reviews
Of course, this process was easier said than done. Pius XI found himself in the midst of an Italian government that seemed to be, whether out of fear or agreement, embracing Hitler's Germany. They even invited the leader to visit their country. Pius XI would have nothing to do with the fanfare of Hitler's arrival. Instead, he retreated to a private Vatican estate, outside of the city, in a quiet protest. Met by resistance from even members of his own church who would rather keep peace with Hitler than provoke him with a damning proclamation, Pius XI stuck to his guns, to denounce what he knew was wrong.
I've always been fascinated by the many pieces to the giant puzzle that is World War II. This time in our history seems to show the best and worst aspects of our world, and I think there are many things to be learned. I was unfamiliar with the story of Pope Pius XI, but with all of the recent actions taking place in the Vatican, it seemed like a good time to delve deeper into the church's history. I was immediately drawn to Pius's unassuming, humble ways. He really comes off as a kind of quiet force.Read more ›
Subtitled: “How An American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius Xi’s Campaign to Stop Hitler”.
HarperCollins, New York 2013.
Peter Eisner has taken the known history of the “hidden encyclical” of Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) and produced a mystery book, which has the reader involved in the next step in publishing the encyclical even while knowing that history shows the encyclical was NOT published. The book is well written and captures the intrigue within the Vatican and the hierarchy of the time.
The main characters are Pius XI (Achille Ratti 1857-1939), of course, and the Jesuit, John LaFarge, Jr., (1880-1963). In fact, this book is one of the more complete biography of John LaFarge, or, perhaps, an extensive biographical sketch.
Since the book deals with the time period to 1938 to early 1939, the author, Peter Eisner, has been rather dismissive of the strong courage of Pius XI. On page 33, Eisner emphasizes the general opinion of Pius XI: that he was a conservative defending the Church, regardless. Pius XI took on Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin when the Church was involved. This book, which addresses a limited time period, does not even mention the encyclical, “Non Abbiamo Bisogno” (We Do Not Need), the first modern encyclical written in a vernacular language and not in Latin. In this 1931 encyclical, Pius XI fundamentally called Mussolini’s regime anti-Catholic, and the Pope condemned the pagan worship of the state. Remember that this was the time when Mussolini was at the peak of his power, with a Vietnam type war in Libya and a war in Ethiopia that included the use of poison gas against the Ethiopians. The League of Nations censored Italy, but did nothing.
Hitler came to power by popular vote in 1933.Read more ›
A famous author was this Jesuit, who wrote against racism, and, stood at the side of Martin Luther King...as he delivered his ' I have a dream' speech. It lays buried deep in the Vatican archives, this encyclical, though one paragraph was found and made it to this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was one great book on one of the darkest and saddest eras ever in the history of mankind. It details the rising forces behind Mussolini and Hitler from the perspective of the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Corkasaurus
great book on a sensitive issue--fully complete with great informationPublished 9 months ago by Rev. Elliot
I enjoyed the book. It ties in Jewish history with church history and world history. These are important areas of history. Read morePublished 12 months ago by HOWARD M MERKEN
Well written and enlightening story of the devoted people in the Vatican and those that have political aims instead of serving God.Published 13 months ago by Panache
great read. learning about the inside of the Vatican is always interesting. mary hoffmanPublished 17 months ago by Mary H Hoffman
Good read. Full of intrigue. Interesting, it really shed light on Pope Pius XI, it's a shame he has not been considered for sainthood.Published 22 months ago by Jill V.
Very well researched. The author excelled in creating a meaningful historical perspective and laid bare the fact that the Catholic Church has its share of political drama similar... Read morePublished on July 24, 2014 by Joe Howard