Pope John Paul II (Modern World Leaders)

Pope John Paul II led the Catholic Church during a time of great upheaval. During his pontificate (1978-2005), the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall collapsed, and great strides were made for freedom worldwide. The first non-Italian pope in more than four centuries, the Polish John Paul was also the very first Slavic pope ever. As a young man, he experienced Nazi persecution and had to train for the priesthood in a seminary conducted "underground" - because Catholic religious training for vocations had been outlawed. At the same time, he remained active in the Polish anti-Nazi insurgency and helped Jews escape the Holocaust. Later, as pontiff, he forged new relationships between the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish denominations worldwide and played a pivotal role in the downfall of the Soviet Union. This engaging and visually appealing biography follows the arch of the pontiff's life in the context of world politics.