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The Vatican Pimpernel: The Wartime Exploits of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty Paperback – January 21, 2010
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'Enthralling and inspiring' The Catholic Times 'Story of personal bravery well worth retelling' The Irish Times 'A true thriller' Scottish Catholic Observer 'An affectionate book that at times reads as well as a spy novel' Books Ireland 'The story it tells is extraordinary' --Irish Independent
About the Author
Brian Fleming, a former member of the Oireachtas, has been a teacher for many years and is currently Principal of Collinstown Park Community College in Dublin.
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While the book covers the time period well, there is some jumping around on dates which makes the timeline confusing occasionally. Most likely this occurs because of the various types of records available to the author in which several events occur at the same time and cannot all be written about at once. Also, the book leaves out any real mention of the movie done about this priest. How is it that top notch actors were chosen and agreed to the excellent script and production? Mr. Fleming notes wisely that Msgr. O'Flaherty is mostly forgotten--why then was such a fine movie produced? I believe this is not the last, nor is it an exhaustive biography, yet it truly fills a gaping hole in our knowledge of this man. These are quibbling critiques on what is an excellent book.
In an age which needs heroes, reading this book helps restore one's faith in humanity--there really are good people who will give up their lives not only for their friends but for strangers in the face of unmitigated evil.
Enjoy this book, pass it on to your friends, and enjoy "The Scarlet and the Black", the movie mentioned above to acquaint yourself with this most interesting man. All movies fictionalize and dramatize, but Gregory Peck surely captures the spirit, character, and type of man O'Flaherty was, so the movie is a great companion to the book.
Whenever I pass by the Daniel O'Connell church in Cahersiveen on my visits to Ireland, I love stopping at the modest and quiet grave of this most gracious man resting in a little cove in the back of the house of worship. One of my favorite memories of Ireland is kneeling at his grave and saying a prayer for this priest whose courage was great, whose faith was solid, and whose humanity knew no barriers to race, creed or religion. It's a peaceful place and I know he is resting well. Last time I was there I thanked him for being such an inspiration to humanity. Read the book, find out about his life, and I'm sure you will be as moved and inspired as is everyone who learns about Msgr. Hugh O'Flaherty, the Vatican Pimpernel.