Last spring while visiting the mystical and beautiful hillside town of Assisi, Italy with my wife, we came upon an exhibit of photographs taken by Reuters photographers of Pope John Paul II displayed around a balcony above a beautiful courtyard by the basilica.
Wanting to move on with our afternoon, I reluctantly agreed to her request that we look at them, and we immediately became transfixed, not just by their colors, clarity and interesting poses of the Pope with various world figures, ordinary people, on his many journeys,etc.---but with the historic story they told of the now 25 years of his remarkable Pontificate and its impact not just on Catholics, but on the entire world. It is easy from the perspective of this new century to forget that just over a dozen years ago Poland and other great nations of eastern and central Europe were under Russia's heel---and it is due in no small part to this Pope that the evils of that communistic and repressive system fell in Warsaw, Prague, Berlin and ultimately Moscow itself.
So who could have predicted in 1978, 1989, or even in 2000 that a book chronicling this massive tidal wave of historic change, with excellent essays by its editor Phillip Pullella and others acting as a frame for the very special photos, would be published about the Pope reaching across national borders and political philosophies with forewords by the unlikely duo of Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev!
As we left the exhibit that day in Assisi, we commented to each other that the photographs deserved to be in a book for countless others who could not see them in person to enjoy. So even before seeing it I purchased several copies having a hunch it would be great, and it is the perfect book to have and to give as a gift. I have never written an Amazon (or any other)review before, but I am pleased and honored to do so for "Pope John Paul II:Reaching Out Across Borders."