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Extended Audio Sample Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II Audiobook, by George Weigel Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (720 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Weigel Narrator: Sam Tsoutsouvas Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2005 ISBN: 9780060881054
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Given unprecedented access to Pope John Paul II and the people who have known and worked with him throughout his life, George Weigel presents a groundbreaking portrait of the Pope as a man, a thinker, and a leader whose religious convictions have defined a new approach to world politics--and changed the course of history.

John Paul II has systematically addressed every major question on the world's agenda at the turn of the millennium: the human yearning for the sacred, the meaning of freedom, the glories and challenges of human sexuality, the promise of the women's movement, the quest for a new world order, the nature of good and evil, the moral challenge of prosperity, and the imperative of human solidarity in the emerging global civilization.By bringing the age-old wisdom of biblical religion into active conversation with contemporary life and thought, the Pope "from a far country" has crafted a challenging proposal for the human future that is without parallel in the modern world.

Weigel explores new information about the Pope's role in some of the recent past's most stirring events, including the fall of communism; the Vatican/Israel negotiation of 1991-92; the collapse of the Philippine, Chilean, Nicaraguan, and Paraguayan dictatorships during the 1980s; and the epic papal visit to Cuba. Weigel also includes previously unpublished papal correspondence with Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Deng Xiaoping, and draws on hitherto unavailable autobiographical reminiscences by the Pope.

Witness to Hope also discusses the Pope's efforts to build bridges to other Christian communities, and to Judaism, Islam, and other great world religions; presents an analysis of John Paul's proposals for strengthening democratic societies in the twenty-first century; and offers synopses of every major teaching document in the pontificate.

Rounding out the dramatic story of Pope John Paul II are fresh translations of his poetry; detailed personal anecdotes of the Pope as a young man, priest, and friend, sketched by those who knew him best; and in-depth interviews with Catholic leaders throughout the world.

A magisterial biography of one of the most important figures--some might argue, the most important figure--of the twentieth century, Witness to Hope is an extraordinary testimony to the man and his accomplishments, and a papal biography unlike any other.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A book that will become a standard for students of church history and that sheds light on the history of the twentieth century for everyone.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Well-wrought and comprehensive.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Weigel’s book is not only a major piece of scholarship, but a cracking good story.”

    National Review

  • “A monumental biography…an indispensable document for understanding the history of the last quarter of the century.”

    Le Monde (Paris)

  • Witness To Hope is a valuable book because it reports many facts that others have not reported.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “The book is rich in new detail…Well written…and Weigel’s command of the material is impressive.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A study that pays homage without degenerating into hagiography…Massive in scope and length, and written with the pope’s cooperation, Weigel’s biography is sure to be the definitive work on Pope John Paul II for years to come.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A spectacular biography about one of the twentieth century’s monumental figures…Learned, fast-paced, deeply insightful, and genuinely inspirational. An extraordinary accomplishment.”

    William J. Bennett, author of The Book Of Virtues

  • “A fascinating biography of an extraordinary figure.”

    Gertrude Himmelfarb, professor emeritus, CUNY

  • A New York Times Notable Book
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fredrick Danysh | 2/18/2014

    " Pope John Pual II was one of the longest reigning pontiffs of the Catholic Church and loved by hundreds of millions. The story of his life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Waring | 2/11/2014

    " What a great book about an incredible man! The things that JP II lived through and influenced are astounding. He lived through WWII as a young man, was a priest/bishop/cardinal/pope during the Cold War, and then continued to influence the world throughout the end of the 20th century. Not only was this a biography, but a thorough history of Catholicism and the world. It's amazing to read of predictions that John Paul made in the early ninety's that have come true, and issues that he fought against that are still pressing and relevant. One of the best books I have read in a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 2/9/2014

    " Marvelous biogragphy, exhaustive and well written. George Weigel is an astute, if conservative, observer of things papal and matters Vatican. This is a wonderful guide to an astounding Papacy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danmcgohan | 1/25/2014

    " Historical, philosophical, and theological tour that is worthy of the "man of the century." More detail information than is really needed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pete Iseppi | 1/25/2014

    " It took me quite a while to get through this book, but it was well worth the effort. What an amazing man Pope JPII was. Even if you're not a Catholic or even a Christian, you have to admire the effort that this man put into living and spreading his faith. The miles traveled, the numerous writings, surviving the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII and then the Communist Government thereafter. Pope JPII raised the bar for future Popes. He was truly a giant of the 20th century, and his impact will be felt for years to come. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Mercurio | 1/23/2014

    " A thorough account of Karol Wojtyla - the man he was before becoming one of the most influential and accomplished Popes since the 1700's. It's great to read about the events that formed the man and his example and witness to the faith, no matter what your religious affiliation (or lack thereof). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 12/26/2013

    " Very difficult to read and lengthy but Pope John Paul is fascinating and prevailed during some of the most difficult times in history (WWII). This book inspired me greatly to remain hopeful during adversity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 12/26/2013

    " No better history lesson on the 20th century than to study the remarkable life of JPII. The best thing about this book is Weigel gives an introductory summary of all of JP's writings... brilliant writings we will be unpacking for centuries! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 12/25/2013

    " Witness to Hope is a very good biography of JPII, but be prepared for a long read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 11/17/2013

    " Biography of John Paul II. Excellent history of such an important figure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cristina Montes | 11/7/2013

    " A very comprehensive, well-researched book. You learn not just about JP2, but about Poland, world history, and current events. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Musselmann | 10/27/2013

    " Beautiful book about John Paul II, the century pope, one of the people i learned to admire, love, respect and follow most in this world. Mr. Weigel's work is absolutely wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renee | 10/1/2013

    " What an amazing man!!!! So glad he was our Pope.........he brought a lot of good to the world. Inspires this reader to go to Poland. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Lemery | 8/12/2013

    " JPII was an amazing human being. He lived a full, diverse life and was very, very intelligent. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Haley | 8/7/2013

    " Much more detailed than I signed up for. JP2 is a fascinating man and I learned a lot about his life and how the pontificate operates, but it was just too much like an encyclopedia. Last time I buy a nonfiction book off the internet without checking the number of pages.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan Moore | 6/28/2013

    " Fantastic look at the life of John Paul II. A great book for the veteran JPII scholar and the novice a like. A caveat, it is a 900+ page book. Totally worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 dynn | 9/21/2012

    " "His first book, on the ethics of married life, raises more than one clerical eyebrow by its celebration of human sexuality as a gift of God for the sanctification of husband and wife." You won't hear such view from secular media! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hevel Cava | 1/17/2012

    " The best biography of John Paul II... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Hughes | 11/11/2011

    " I was fascinated to learn about Poland's history and JPII's early life, but the later parts of the book became hard to read. Here and there I found some interesting matters, but it was tough going. I'd never read it a second time! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 11/29/2010

    " A very good book about a great man, but I found it a struggle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 5/24/2009

    " This is the best biography I have ever read. It is an interesting and in depth look at one of the most amazing people to live in the last century. It is very long, but it does not drag or become monotonous. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claire Seelinger | 4/29/2009

    " It would be difficult to find anyone as hardworking, tireless in his work, and accomplished as the late JPII. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joey Sagel | 7/24/2007

    " Obviously long, but totally worth it. I am a little biased because he is one of my heroes! Will someday be St. John Paul the great, doctor of the Church! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 4/18/2006

    " I love this book so far. Weigel is an awesome biographer and JPII is an amazing subject. No wonder this book is longer than most dictionaries! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Constanza | 2/7/2006

    " one of the most revealing books i have ever read. confirmed my love and admiration for possibly the greatest man of the 20th century together with Gandhi "

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About the Author

George Weigel is one of the world's foremost authorities on the Catholic Church and the author of the New York Times bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. He is a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and a consultant on Vatican affairs for NBC News.

About the Narrator

Sam Tsoutsouvas is a veteran actor and lyricist with experience on the stage and in television, films, and audiobook narration. He has acted in regional theater and on Broadway in everything from Shakespeare plays to musical comedy. His television appearances include Law & Order and Soldier of Fortune, Inc. His film roles include the minister in Ghost, and he provided voice for two film documentaries, Ezra Pound: American Odyssey and Lodz Ghetto, which was nominated for several awards. He has narrated more than a dozen audiobooks, and his reading of Journeys of Socrates was a finalist for the 2006 Audie Award for Best Narration in the inspirational/spiritual category, a narration that AudioFile magazine praised as “masterful.”