Robert Royal's book "Catholic Martyrs" is a decent enough effort. I applaud him vigorously for his efforts. He does a decent enough job in laying out the facts concerning the men and women who have died for the Catholic faith in the 20th century. I found the chapter on the "forgotten holocaust", the deaths of 10 million Ukrainian Catholics at the hands of Stalin and the Marxist/Communists to be quite an eye opener. Likewise, his chapter on Edith Stein who died as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross to be well written.
The same cannot be said for some of the other chapters. One reviewer pointed out the one of the more puzzling lines, "Christ told so-and-so to tell some funny stories". Okaaay.
But those minor slip ups aside, I do recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out more about the courageous men and women who gave their lives for the church. So do buy this book and read it. It is worth your time and money.
Robert Royal deserves resounding applause for having taken on an important, difficult, and outrageously neglected subject. To be sure, Mr. Royal's heart is in the right place -- which is more than one can say for his writing skills. Is this book terribly written? By no means. Nevertheless, Mr. Royal has a rather pedestrian and awkward style. And there are some unbelievable errors: People are hanged, Mr. Royal, not hung. In addition, there are many passages that fizzle out, that never really go anywhere. And I had very little interest in the rather lenghty and tedious biographical information on several of the martyrs. Their martyrdom, the circumstances leading up to and surrounding it, and the ultimately beneficial results for the Church is where the focus should have been. Finally, Mr. Royal's selection of Marie-Michel Marcel Van surprised me -- "At one point, Christ even asked Van to tell him some funny stories." Uh-huh. And the same is true of his selection of Archbishop Romero. Mr. Royal does not persuade that the Archbishop wasn't a Marxist wedded to Liberation Theology. The Archbishop was brutally murdered, to be sure. But was he also martyred? Did he die for the Faith or for a bankrupt ideology?
Despite these and other imperfections, I do indeed recommend this book -- it is something of a monument to those who paid the ultimate price or at least suffered greatly as witnesses to the Fullness of Truth.