New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1963. First edition. Octavo, original gilt-decorated black cloth, illustrated endpapers, red top edge, original dust jacket. About-fine in an unclipped, unfaded dust jacket with minor wear to spine ends and a small abrasion. Item #858
"HE STANDS THUS BEFORE THE WORLD, ARMS OPEN WIDE" First edition of this illustrated biography of Angelo Roncalli and his reign as Pope John XXIII—published only days after the Holy Father's death in June 1963. The successor to Crown of Glory, Alden Hatch's biography of Pope Pius XII (1957), A Man Called John describes Roncalli's peasant background, the years of obscure diplomatic toil on behalf of the Holy See, and his return to Italy as Cardinal Patriarch of Venice—all culminating in his unlikely election as Pope John XXIII in October 1958. The last third of the book is devoted to a detailed description of the Pope's efforts at engaging with all of humanity—Catholic and Protestant, Christian and Non-Christian alike. Early on, the Pope was determined to convene an Ecumenical Council of the Church: "He stands thus before the world, arms open wide. He called his Council to open the arms of the Church to all men who want her." The first session of the Second Vatican Council closed in December 1962. The Holy Father died in early June, only weeks after issuing his final encyclical, Pacem in Terris ("Peace on Earth") on Easter Sunday. The book was probably already printed when the Pope died so a concluding Memorial Section ("That They May Be One") was inserted at the end of the text, in tribute to John's short, but consequential, pontificate. Published in July 1963, with illustrated endpapers, two photographic inserts, charming sketches by Allene Gaty Hatch (the author's wife), and complete with a dust jacket featuring a splendid color portrait by Karsh (on the front panel) and the October 1962 opening of the Council (on the back panel). With an illustrated brochure (advertising a Catholic Digest Book Club edition) laid-in at the back. Approbations.