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John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  79 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Peggy Noonan comes "a beautifully written testimony about . . . the most historically recognized pope" (Library Journal)

With such accla imed books as When Character Was King, Peggy Noonan has become one of our most eloquent and respected commentators. Now she offers a stirring portrait of a spiritual and intellectual giant who persona
Paperback, 238 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published November 10th 2005)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  579 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Although this was titled John Paul the Great, I would say it's more "my own spiritual journey, which happened to be partially influenced by John Paul II." There was so much in this book that had little or nothing to do with JPII, and what there was seemed to be fairly shallow. In other words, most of her memories of JPII seemed to be the same as what most people saw publicly, even though Noonan is a journalist and was able to get closer than most of us. It wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't a biogra ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a amazing read about tht"Peoples Pope!"
Peggy Noonan is well-known for her excellence in journalism; she shows in John Paul the Great her excellence in faith as well. The pages of this book are a well-written, moving, and honest tribute to the man who was Pope John Paul II. She discusses his life, his doctrine, his humor. She shows the world’s universal great love for this man from Poland.

I had never known a world without John Paul II; he was as constant as the sun. At the time of his death, I worked at a Catholic school, making the
Nov 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a worthwhile 'read'. I listened to an audiobook version which was read by the author, and would suggest that version if available. Reading it would take away the author's emphasis on various portions. The reading was so conversational that I'm tempted to look at the book to see if she actually included the pauses she made aloud. It isn't so much a biography as it is a series of meditations on Noonan's experiences with the Church, with many different holy people and with John Paul II him ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-book, dnf
There were whole chapters that focused on Peggy's religious experience without any reference to JP2. I wished it was more objective.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
John Paul the Great was an interesting review of Catholicism in the 80s through 2000s as framed by John Paul II's papacy and author Peggy Noonan's experiences over that period. While I left feeling like I didn't really learn anything new about John Paul himself, Noonan's reflections were interesting and insightful.

Noonan had encounters with prominent Catholic figures that would have made Forrest Gump proud. Her encounters are touching and entertaining and lead into thoughtful explorations of dif
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this because I didn’t know much about John Paul II, so this was a great informer. Love Peggy Noonan from the WSJ, and her writing style was great. Agreed that the sexual allegations are the biggest black eye to the church, and the perspective to that was interesting. As was the awful education and sermons from the American church, which was another mentioned failure under JP II’s watch. But his commitment to praying and ability to ignore the perks of being pope are extraordinary. Loved this ...more
Peggy Noonan gives us two books in one: a basic introduction to the life and writings of Pope John Paul II for lay people and also a spiritual autobiography. I listened to the audio book version and hearing the author's voice gave added impact to the points that she made about Pope John Paul and the Church.

I found this audiobook well-worth my time and it did not seem dated.
Biography of Saint Pope John Paul II. Noonan writes beautifully about this beautiful man. He led a crazy life; the details are astounding!

Highly recommended for Catholics and non-Catholics.

Read large print copy (the only copy at BTPL library).

** Focus on what is good & beautiful (like JPII's life) to elevate your spirit. **
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: catholic
A good insight into JP2, with some new things I had not heard before. However, alot of the book was Peggy Noonan's personal insights and stories. Sometimes good, sometimes not. I would have preferred less of that honestly. It seemed more of a memoir than a biography.
Julia Fink
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Loved the first half...second half, talks about the abortion issues, the sex scandals, very old quickly. We all know where the church stands on these we can move on from them is not discussed. Loved the chapter on prayer.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a practicing Catholic and looking for something to read during the Lenten season, this book was appropriate - Ms. Noonan does go into details about John Paul and his legacy but also flips the script and notes his imperfections during his papacy. I didn't think this book was terrible but the author does weave in her own personal story which I didn't expect but does give some perspective the influence John Paul had on her life.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
First half is great, second half more about authors personal beliefs, journey, and Benedict XVI
Jason Shepherd
Jan 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Other reviewers have observed this already: this book is more about the author's personal feelings and journey than it is about Pope John Paul II. I had trouble finishing this book.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Peggy Noonan is such a beautiful writer, and what a wonderful subject.
G Stephen
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing

John Paul, Peggy Noonan and our own Spiritual Journey, November 9, 2006

We heard John Paul the Great as an audio CD read by Peggy Noonan as we drove from Chicago to Colorado. It is 7 CD's or about 8 1/2 hours of listening time but my wife and I had a long journey to travel while in the USA. There was an excitement as we began because John Paul had also been a positive influence in own lives, particularly when we working along the war zone of the Thai/Cambodian border in the early 1980's. A war o
I have so many Post-Its in my library copy of this book that I'm going to buy a copy to keep track of all the passages I want to remember and share. It's informational and inspirational. Peggy Noonan is a self-admitted admirer of John Paul II, which she tells you right from the title. As she recaps his life and death, she gives the reader many reasons to admire him as well. I especially appreciated how she held up a lens to his later years; while it's easy to be impressed by someone in their you ...more
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A great biography of Pope John Paul II!! I didn't realize it until I got further into the book, but the day I started reading this biography was exactly the 30th anniversary of his Papacy - a coincidence? This book gives a glimpse back into his difficult upbringing, his strong spirituality, his forgiveness of the man who tried to assasinate him, his sense of humor, his prayer life and most importantly the man inside the Pope. He was a complex man, but would welcome children, the sick & the p ...more
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Catholics
Shelves: aborted, 2007
This book is reasonably well-written, although it is evident to me that Peggy Noonan is a journalist first, novelist second. But honestly I don't think I'll ever finish it because I just don't really care. I started reading it because my parents sent it to me, and after a brief adulthood of automatically shelving all the books they give me, I've been trying to actually read their suggestions. But this book can't really be meaningful to me unless I am Catholic, and trying to be Catholic, or am se ...more
This book was, for me, a good introduction to the character of St Pope JPII, his most important beliefs and writings, his work as pope, and the effect that his work had on the world. Although largely positive, Noonan did draw attention to some aspects of his work that she thought were bad choices, and I enjoyed reading this as well as a lot of religious books tend to be very one-sided.

I skipped some chapters that focused on Noonan's personal experience as I just wasn't interested in her persona
Peggy Noonan's John Paul the Great is more a memoir of her own spiritual growth than biography of the recently canonized St. John Paul II - but her spiritual life has so clearly been led and molded by him that there's no need for her to write about them separately.

Noon brings to life the deep ties between the rise of John Paul II, the first Polish Pope, and the beginning of the end of Communism in that country. She summarizes and distills JPII's teachings on fear, morality, and ethics.

Finally, N
Jul 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Although I am not Catholic I have developed a high opinion of Pope John Paul II, particularly the time I saw a news clip of him in obvious pain come up to the window to look out on the crowds of people cheering for him and he struggled to lift himself up only long enough to give them a blessing and return to his bed. There were some incredible parts to this book. I had no idea how monumental it was that this man became pope. However in my opinion this was one of the few books that could have ben ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Not really what I expected. I thought it would be more about the life and events in the life of John Paul, but it was more about things he taught and major world events during his life time that he may or may not have had an effect on. I still learned a lot, he said and taught a lot of things that were not really what has been "historically catholic" that I didn't know about. Things like, that God doesn't want us to be his servant but wants us to be free, commandments are not a strict list of mi ...more
This was the Book on CD version read by the author, Peggy Noonan. Wanted to learn more about Pope John Paul II as I really knew little about him and his papacy. Peggy Noonan is very expressive of her beliefs regarding John Paul II and says much to honor him and his many contributions. She also discusses at length her personal feelings regarding the pope--this I was not expecting but appreciate her candor and disclosure. I came away feeling great respect for John Paul II and appreciate the learni ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm more than halfway through. This is an awesome book, largely because it's about John Paul's effect on the world, not so much about him. It's especially good to learn about his influence on Peggy Noonan, whose writing in the Wall Street Journal I appreciate. Her thoughts and references to other writings that relate to them are very helpful to me. For example, she stressed that God speaks to us in dreams--which Pope John Paul II also said. I hadn't thought that by staying up late I was robbing ...more
Ben Daghir
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Peggy Noonan provides an honest reflection of a Spiritual Father.

Her perspectives regarding Global media and the pope are interesting. Her interactions, via her writing profession, provide a unique view of JPII.

Being an American, I was more interested in her book than I think a European would be. Noonan embraces Catholic America and openly states its issues. She's fierce in her disappointment of US Catholic hierarchy.

Her final chapter uses the voice of Pope Benedict XVI in a powerful, humble, an
Sep 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premier columnist Peggy Noonan has written a sincere, informative book on a recent Pope, revealing the strength that a Pope can be in this era of declining Christian faith in America. It gave me an interest in pursuing catholic studies just a little be more. Reading some of the more recent encyclicals for example. I actually have several that I bought but did not read while in the Senate. I will have to get those out.
Amber Strussion
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this book during my trip to Italy and was extremely moved by it. This is not a typical biography by any means as it does not simply follow the life of Pope John Paul. Peggy Noonan is an outstanding writer and incorporates other people's quotes, opinions, anecdotes, etc as well as telling and reflecting on her own experiences. I would recommend this book to anyone that desires a truly inspirational read, but it is simply a must-read for Catholics.
Hannah  Barber
May 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
While I love Saint John Paul II and truly believe him to be one of the Greatest Men of our time, I highly disliked this book. I found Ms. Noonan to be rather disrespectful in her writings of the Church and the Pope. This book was not a tale of John Paul the Great, it was a story of the Authors journey and her "Problems" with Catholicism. I do not believe this book truly shows the character of John Paul.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very inspirational and had several "aha moments" for me and helped my own spiritual journey. I would say it does touch on John Paul's life but was more of how he influenced Peggy's spiritual journey than a play by play biography. Very engaging and actually made me want to pray the rosary when 12 years of catechism was never able to do so!
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Peggy Noonan is an author of seven books on politics, religion and culture, a weekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and was a Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. She is considered a political conservative.

“Do not be afriad! I can see that Americans are not afraid. They are not afraid of the sun, they are not afraid of the wind, they are not afraid of 'today'. They are, generally speaking, brave, good people. And so I say to you today, always be brave. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. God is with you. Do not be afraid to search for God-then you will truly be the land of the free, the home of the brave. God Bless America.” 7 likes
“I further know that if God has something special for you, you have a knowledge of it inside you, which causes you not to be satisfied with anything that isn't this thing. You're "restless" until you find it.” 5 likes
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