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A Life with Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope
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A Life with Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This intimate, affectionate portrait of Pope John Paul II by his longtime secretary and confidant reveals fascinating new details about the opinions, hopes, fears, and dramatic life of this public man.

“I had accompanied him for almost forty years: twelve in Kraków and then twenty-seven in Rome. I was always with him, always at his side. Now, in the moment of death, he’d go
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Doubleday Religion
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Apr 16, 2008 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people of all faiths
I'm in the middle of this book and am really enjoying it. I have already learned a few things I never knew about the Holy Father...and I really like the way the book is written in a very "conversational" style. Cardinal Dziwisz is very open and forthright. I will add more to my review when I finish it...
4/16: I finished the book this afternoon and I have to say, it was a very moving and worthwhile read. I had a hard time completely understanding the political climate and its effects on Poland an
Actually, about 2.5 stars. More hagiography, but this time from the Great Man's secretary. One of these days we'll get the warts and all story of John Paul the Great, but probably not until he's a Saint. There are a few things to learn in this volume: his interview with his would be assassin is illuminating, JP was there to forgive, Agfa just kept wondering how he could have missed; the tales of Solidarity are interesting; and the Pope's final days are heart-breaking. I have to admit I liked (ma ...more
I am a sucker for books about Pope John Paul II, so I was eager to read this one by Cardinal Dziwisz, who served as the Holy Father's personal secretary for many years. I have to say, though, that this one isn't what I was hoping it would be. The narrator's preface doesn't really explain how Cardinal Dziwisz and the journalist came together on this project, so the narration seems to come out of nowhere. They have to cover the vast amount of time, geography, and material of Pope John Paul II's po ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
I enjoy all I have been reading, but where is the human Pope? He is romantically portrayed in fond, hagiographical terms. Closer to a god than than to a human in this portrayal by this dear Cardinal. I am almost beginning to believe in the infallibility of the Pope due to such romantic portrayal. The author of this book wants to give John Paul all the credit for the downfall of communism when such a huge political issue has rather economic factors to play in a big way, not what the Pope has to s ...more
I started reading intensely this book enchanted by the sublime emotional preface. I must confess now, at the end, that the grandious personality, spirituality and deeds of Pope John Paul II could have been more suitably reviewed. Even though, I do understand, this is not the Pope's biography but the humble confession of his closest witness, his secretary... Does this lack of strength belong to Cardinal Dziwisz or to journalist Svidercoschi?
Monika Barbara Potocki
I liked this book, and it covered a wide range of topics from politics to overseas visits to Cardinal Dziwisz's personal life. However, I was disappointed by the fact that relatively little was said about the author's and the Pope's personal relationship and interactions. There were no huge revelations or anything of the sort, but still, it was a good read.
This was written by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Pope's personal secretary from his days as Bishop of Krakow. The Cardinal begins the book by looking back on what he missed most about the Pope - his peaceful gaze. I immediately understood what he meant, and I felt the same. Even though I had met the Pope only once, when I was twelve, his presence pervaded most of my life, and continues to do so after his death in 2005.

I thoroughly enjoyed the stories about the Pope. I discovered more of his a
So it definitely took me a while to get through this book. Often chapters referenced documents or topics that I had no idea/understanding of which was confusing. Also, the story was written in two points of views which caused the book to be kind of choppy and not flow well, as the story sometimes doubled back or repeated itself.

That being said the parts of the book that really focused on Pope John Paul's accomplishments and goals were fascinating. I gained a whole new appreciation for what he d
Crystal Young
Very interesting and enlightening insider's view of Pope John Paul II. As he became Pope very early in my life and held the papacy for 27 years, he is still the person who comes to mind when I hear the title "Pope". The book paints him as a consistent, authentic, credible person whose devotion to prayer and Scripture should be a lesson, example, and conviction to us all. Though I do not necessarily agree with all of his theology or platforms, after reading this book, I can certainly see where an ...more
For those fans of the late Pope John Paul II (the Great as he is referred to as now) who are looking for more of an intimate biography...this book was written by his right hand man, not the current Pope, Benedict XVI, but his personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.

Its a story of the rise of Pope John Paul II through the eyes of his personal secretary. It described the Pope and how he tackled some of the many problems of the world and also his many accomplishments of his pontificate...Thi
Amy kravitz
So far so good. I wish the author gave some beginning biographical history on Pope John Paul 2. The book explains how John Paul was instrumental in bringing down the walls of Communism in Eastern Europe and in his native Poland.
Towards the end it talked about the Pope's failing health, but it was only discussed in passing.
In general, I liked the book, but I felt that the book needed more "meat." There were quite a few chapters, but I wish they went into more depth concerning the life and action
Apr 13, 2008 Ken rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone looking for an overview of the Pope's life.
Recommended to Ken by: Tricia
This was an interesting book about Pope John Paul II. From the title, I expected a somewhat personal look at the Pope and his day to day life, but the focus of the book is more on the big movements in the Pope's life--his rise from Cardinal to Pope, Poland's struggles for freedom, the collapse of communism, and events on the world stage. There is also a good deal of discussion on theological points, some of which I did not have the theological background to catch the significance.
A man whose spirituality has inspired and moved the entire world. This is not only a testament of his sanctity, but also an uplifting manual on how to remain spiritually grounded in an increasingly secular world.

Though with a rather elementary writing style (could be further copyedited), this book never fails to move one to prayer, to seek a life of happiness with every page. Truly, Pope John Paul II is one of the most inspiring icons of the century.
I particularly like the conversational style of the book. One comes away from the book feeling like they new the Holy Father. It also gives a context for many of his actions through his papacy, especially in Poland. I was not aware of how much impact he had in Poland during his reign. I heartily suggest this book for anyone who would like a quick read about John Paul the Great.
When Pope John Paul died on the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday, I was sadden that he didn't have Mass for one of his favorite feasts, so I was very happy to learn that Cardinal Dziwisz started saying the Vigil for him before he died. :)

I also like hearing about how he would sneak out to go skiing or he would jump from moving cars to escape spies. Pope on a mission, indeed.
This book was very moving. The way Pope John Paul II responded to the assasination attempt on his life was inspiring. The positive way he approached his Parkinson's disease was incredible. Plus I loved when it talked about his close friendship with Mother Teresa.
Robert Luke
The descriptions of the attempt on his life in 1981 and of his passing in 2005 were moving and better than I have read elsewhere. The book is merely okay otherwise but is still worth reading by those interested in Blessed Pope John Paul the Great. Santo subito!
Mary Alice
This is not only a testimony to a 40 year-old friendship based on loyalty and respect but also a mini history lesson. Oh, you'll need your Kleenex reading the last chapter. :)
Katarzyna Mlynarczyk
This book is really good to know some more polish culture, history. You can learn, how to be, from a Great Person.
Nick Aho
It was a good insight of the Late Holy Father from the eyes of his secretary Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.
I think it could be a great book, but just very hard to read and follow.
Bill Melo
Loved it. Didn't want to put it down
Oct 11, 2008 Trudy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Trudy by: Personal choice.
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