The leading Catholic commentator and historian Michael Walsh throws open the mysterious and secretive world of the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church. They are Catholicism's 'nearly men' who never became Pope but who have been the power behind the papal throne throughout the ages. This eminently readable and often entertaining account tells the stories of some 200 outstanding (for all kinds of reasons) cardinals from the beginnings of the office in the 8th century, through the Middle Ages when cardinals ranked with royal princes, to more recent distinguished wearers of the red cap - among them the greatly missed Basil Hume and Joseph Bernadin. Here we meet the kingmaker cardinals, the politically ambitious, the saintly, the venial, the scholarly, the pastors, and the cardinals with wives and children.
MICHAEL WALSH is a prominent Catholic author and Vatican commentator. A frequent contributor to The Tablet, he was until recently Librarian of Heythrop College, London. He is the author of numerous books including The Conclave and The Dictionary of Christian Biography (Continuum)