Monday, May 15, 2017

City of Saints (Image Books)

George Weigel is best known for his book Witness to Hope, the definitive biography of the late Pope John Paul II. He has written many other books, including Letters to a Young Catholic and Evangelical Catholicism, but the ones that always pull my interest are the ones on Pope John Paul II. Today, I am going to tell you about one such book - City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II's Krakow.

City of Saints is a travelogue through the city of Krakow by George Weigel, his son and photographer Stephen Weigel, and Dr. Carrie Gress. The book looks at the famous city through the lens of Pope John Paul II's life. The book begins by briefly mentioning Pope John Paul II's initial entry into Krakow when he was roughly 18. The book then flashes back to his childhood and time as a student. Here we see the city of Wadowice, the neighborhood of Debniki, his time in the Jagiellonian University, and how World War II not only shaped the country of Poland, but was formative in the life of Pope John Paul II's life as well. The other two sections discuss his time as priest, bishop, and pope. It is in these sections that we see Wawel Castle, St. Florian's, and Nowa Huta.

It is always interesting to me to read different perspectives on the life of Pope John Paul II, because for a while, he was the only pope I ever knew of. George Weigel is one of the definitive experts on this saint, and while he has already produced us two great works, this one provides a unique way of looking at his life. I have never been to Poland (maybe one day), but the descriptions in the book paired with the photographs (both color and black and white) provide a vivid portrait of a city and a man so closely tied together. Reading through the words in this book, your mind was transported not only to Krakow but back in time at different points of Pope John Paul II's life. This book was not only an interesting read, but it made me want to visit Poland all the more. If you are interested in travel, Poland, and/or Pope John Paul II, I recommend this book for you.

This book was provided to me for free by Image Books in exchange for an honest review.