JOHN PAUL II
A Personal Portrait of
the Pope and the Man
Ray Flynn with Robin Moore and James Vrabel
One wonders if Ray Flynn ever sat down with Pope John Paul and told him how political deals went down in Boston. One wonders is the pope would even raise an eyebrow given what he has seen in his life. Either way, it is evident in this book that Flynn, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to ’97, developed a warm personal relationship with John Paul II even though the U.S. government not infrequently parted ways on social and moral issues with the Vatican. Ecce homo, behold the man. That’s how Pilate presented Christ to the angry crowd. Flynn presents John Paul the man in this book, though in a positive way, one that reveals the human being behind the robes of an office that is like no other on earth. St. Martin’s Press. 224 pp. $18.95.
GUARDIANS OF THE PEACE
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Before he edited The Irish Times, Conor Brady edited the Garda Review, the Garda Síochána’s membership journal. It can be taken then that he knows his subject matter well. The Garda Síochána — the English translation is "Guardians of the Peace" — has been a pivotal force in the birth, early days survival and ultimate consolidation and success of then modern Irish state. Not surprisingly, the force has also been mired in controversy at various points in its history. Police work is rarely without complications in a legal sense and frequently collides with political sensibilities. Brady, in his assessment of the force’s role in Irish society, perceptively chronicles both the ideals and imperfections that form the background to what is still a rarity in global policing: a largely unarmed force. Irish Books and Media, (800) 229-3505. 248 pp. $14.95.
CREATORS OF MATHEMATICS
The Irish Connection
Edited by Ken Houston
There is a complaint in the foreword to this book. Not nearly enough is known in the world about the contributions made to mathematics by Irish mathematicians, or mathematicians with connections to Ireland. Well, this book goes some way to solving this problem. And while Pythagoras, it turns out, did not have an Irish granny, not a few learned individuals with an appreciation of his, and other theorems, can claim to have been inspired by Irish, well, roots. Dufour Editions, Chester Springs PA; (610) 458-5005. 150 pp. $19.95.
THE LONG WATCH
World War II and the
Irish Mercantile Marine
"Thank god we’re surrounded by water." So goes the old song line. The ocean has provided Ireland with both protection and sustenance over the centuries and during World War II it served as a life-saving buffer — as did Britain, it must be said — between the fledgling Irish state and the horrors inflicted on the peoples of Europe by the Nazis. But isolation from war did not mean isolation from the worldly needs. Ireland still had to feed itself and to a degree never seen before, the Irish had to turn to the sea as a national lifeboat, and the country’s merchant seamen as its crew. This fascinating book tells the tale of a time when even neutrality was far from being a guarantee of safe passage. Dufour Editions, Chester Springs, PA; (610) 458-5005. 148 pp. $34.95.