Pope John Paul II is now universally considered to have been one of the great leaders of the twentieth century and possibly the most politically influential pope since St Peter. His achievements are well documented, yet he once said, 'I can only be understood from the inside.' In this vivid and accessible living portrait, O'Connor investigates the inner man, including Karol Wojtyla's life before he became Pope and his friendships with men and women, subtly analysing the Pope's own poems, plays and philosophical works for clues as to what made him tick. It also dramatically follows his life, from his birth in Poland in 1920, through the losses that shaped his childhood, the assassination attempt in 1981, and his great public confrontations on the world stage, right up until his death in April 2005.
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.