London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1982. First edition. Octavo, original brown cloth, original dust jacket. Ink notes to rear flyleaf of about-fine book, moderate toning and soiling to top rear panel of still bright dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #635
"WITH ALL THE STRENGTH OF HIS FAITH, AND ALL THE POWER OF HIS INTELLECT, AND THE MAGIC OF HIS PERSONALITY, HE IS STRIVING TO REBUILD THE AUTHORITY OF THE PAPACY" First edition of Paul Johnson's laudatory appraisal of Pope John Paul II—an early recognition of one of the most consequential figures of the twentieth century. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Cracow, was a rising star in the Roman Catholic hierarchy during the late 1960s and 70s. His astute political abilities (honed behind the Iron Curtain) prepared the way for his entry on to the international stage at the Second Vatican Council. Wojtyla was also a deep thinker with a strong grounding in the various philosophical and theological currents swirling through the intellectual life of the Church. But, perhaps most importantly, the photogenic Wojtyla, "athletic, assertive, robustly self-confident, was born for the spotlight" (John O'Malley). But for all of his singular talents, Wojtyla's election as Pope John Paul II still surprised the world during the "Year of Three Popes." John Paul II appears as the right person, at the right time, to give voice to a modern Church combating the ills of both the East and the West in effort to counteract both totalitarianism and secularism. The election of the fiercely anti-communist Wojtyla coincided with the ascendancy of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Johnson's embrace of all three was the culmination of his own political journey, a steady evolution from left to right illustrated by his dedication: "This book is dedicated to my friends and colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute." Johnson's theme of restoration is emphasized by the epigraph on the half title: "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten." The book consists of three sections: Part One. The Making of a Pope, Part Two. The Five Evils of the Age, Part Three. Sources of Authority. With a memorable dust jacket photograph of John Paul by Karsh of Ottawa (famous for his photographs of Winston Churchill). A pleasing copy of a surprisingly scarce book.