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Universal Father


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Previous books about the Pope have concentrated on his public life and achievements - this biography is concerned with explaining who the inner man was, what really made the Pope tickThe book is based on five years' research and includes a fascinating picture section and comprehensive notes, chronology and bibliographyThe author is the biographer of, among others, Peggy Ashcroft and Paul Scofield - his understanding of acting and drama is highly appropriate in an examination of this ordinary man - who was an actor in his youth - turned leader of the Catholic Church

About the Author

Garry O'Connor is the author of highly praised biographies of Ralph Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft, Paul Scofield, Alec Guinness, Sean O'Casey and William Shakespeare. He lives near Banbury with his wife and six children.


'This is the last biography of John Paul II to have been finished while he was still alive. It is also the best. Universal Father is the only life of the late Pope that is an artistic achievement in its own right. None of Garry O'Connor's predecessors has matched his exposition of the literary, philosophical and dramatic sources of John Paul's pontificate, or his nimble untangling of the strands of theological argument' Daily Telegraph 'A fine, enduring biography ... O'Connor's triumph is to make the search for the soul of a papacy an enjoyable, edifying and occasionally emotional journey' Glasgow Herald 'Garry O'Connor, whose previous books include superb biographies of Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness, Ralph Richardson and Paul Scofield, is very much at home in this warm portrait of the greatest actor-manager of them all ... O'Connor has painted a loving portrait' Mail on Sunday 'A distinctive, insightful and enjoyable book ... conveys a freshness and reverent iconoclasm in his portrait of John Paul' Independent

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