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The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II--The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  20 reviews
“As March gave way to April in the spring of 2005 and the world kept vigil outside the apostolic palace in Rome, the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, then drawing to a poignant end, was already being described as one of the most consequential in two millennia of Christian history.”

With these words, world-renowned author and NBC Vatican analyst George Weigel begins his lon
Paperback, 608 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Image (first published September 10th 2010)
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This was more like a reference book than a book that you were supposed to read from front to back. I normally like a bunch of detail, but this time Weigel seriously needed an editor (and not the first time).

I liked Pope John Paul II, and I’m glad that Weigel wrote this, but I had some issues when he criticizes Pope John Paul II. I am not saying that anyone is perfect, but Weigel criticized Pope John Paul II for not being more supportive of the war in Iraq. From my point of view, that was not th
Czarny Pies
The End and the Beginning is the second volume of George Weigel's biography of John Paul II. It is currently the best book on the last five years of John Paul II's life and may always be. George Weigel is a theology professor who can understand and explain theological arguments in laymen's terms. He was selected by John Paul II's entourage to write the biography and benefitted from as much access to those close to Jean Paul as he felt he needed. Finally, he took the time to use all the resources ...more
Andrew Jones
An exhaustive take on John Paul II's involvement in the fall of communism in Poland and the last years of his pontificate, Weigel's "The End and the Beginning" provides a treasure trove of new information about the Polish pope laid out in a somewhat confusing manner. I wonder if the main points of Part III, in which Weigel lays out his assessment of the pontificate, could have been better incorporated throughout the preceding sections to give the book a more digestible organization. Only in the ...more
Gil Michelini
I thought I was somewhat informed on the pontificate of Pope John Paul II but George Weigel showed me in this excellent book how little I knew about Pope John Paul II the Great.
The first part of the book tells an amazing story of the Church in Poland under the Nazis and then the Communist. I am embarrassed that I have ever placed my faith secondary to anything after hearing these stories of people willing—during my lifetime—to endure torture and even death rather than reject their faith in Chris
Richard Stephenson
I really liked it!

I knew Pope John Paul II was a very great man... but I had NO IDEA.

The struggles, the difficulties, the constant torment from political agencies of destruction... meant nothing. Not to say they didn't get in the way, but nothing stopped this holy man from doing the good Lord's work in the world.

And with such love, humor, and all-encompassing compassion... forever putting aside his own physical pain and suffering to focus on serving the world. Amazing.

Now I couldn't give it 5*'s
Nov 20, 2011 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Linda by: first read good read
Shelves: first-read
The true story of Karol Wojtyola's life's journal from this beginning in war torn Poland to the end as Pope John Paul 11.
It covers each and every detail of his life as he experienced it. It also covers the actions of those who saw him as their greatest enemy during his forty-year struggle against communism.

In order to realize the role he played in the downfall of communism you must read it slowly (including the Notes). It not a quick read. The book covers one of histories most dangerous times.
Pete Iseppi
There were many who did not like Pope John Paul II. However, there were MANY more who did than didn't, and VERY few that did not at least respect him. There is no doubt that he was one of a handful of Giants of the 20th century. In my opinion, he was an amazing man. You know that game where you pick the figures from history that you would like to invite to dinner, and then discuss your choices? Well, Pope JPII would be at the top of my list. To spice things up, I think that I'd seat him between ...more
Don Mario
La prima parte dell'opera ricostruisce le vicende dei rapporti tra Karol Woytjla e il blocco sovietico. Grazie all'apertura di archivi segreti e le testimonianze dei protagonisti, emerge un quadro appassionante e davvero inedito.

La seconda parte percorre da vicino gli ultimi anni della vita di Giovanni Paolo II e presenta un livello di dettaglio francamente eccessivo per i miei interessi. Non credo che troverò mai il tempo di finirlo.

Metterei quattro stelle per la prima parte, ma solo tre per l'
George Weigel is one of the foremost authors who stays abreast of contemporary issues surrounding the on-going dialogue between the Church and the world. But in this book, he reveals the unknown, untold story of the life of an incredible man and - beyond any doubt - a true witness to Christ: Pope John Paul II, before he was Pope (Karol Wojtyla). A great read, very gripping.
Over a decade after he wrote Witness to Hope, George Weigel is back with a fascinating account of John Paul II's fight against communism and the last years of his pontificate. Weigel is a great story teller and Karol Wojytla/John Paul II comes alive in these pages. This is no small book, but the pace is great and Weigel keeps you interested.
This is another book that I have not read in it's entirety yet. It is a difficult, complicated read, but worth it! It is so interesting to read about the political situation while Blessed Pope John Paul II was in the Vatican. Things that the outside world had no idea had going on. I definitely recommend this book!
The first part of this, about the fall of communism is quite interesting. I'm only about half way through. Some sections are a bit of a slog to get through, just like Weigel's first book about JPII. But I am learning alot.
John Cawley
Jan 04, 2011 John Cawley is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So far, extremely impressive, particularly in its ability to accurately describe Communist governments, their nature, activities, and their suppression of any competing influences, i.e. Catholicism in Poland.
An interesting way to tell his story, overall very insightful and spiritual.
Luke Reisdorf
Definitely a thick read, the first third of the book seemed the most interesting regarding the communist handling of Pope John Paul II.
Ryan Moore
Very well written continuation of A Witness to Hope.
Heather Q
Too many details made the book feel long winded and tedious
Kasia Hubbard
Oct 24, 2011 Kasia Hubbard marked it as to-read
I won this on Goodreads. I received my copy on October 24.
Extremely informative, but a little dry.
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American author and political and social activist. Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation.
Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of
More about George Weigel...
Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II Letters to a Young Catholic The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform And The Future Of The Church Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church

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