There are two historical figures who intrigue me like none other: Ben Franklin and St. Francis of Assisi. Indeed, few religious figures are as universally admired as Francis. In the inspiring biography "Saint Francis," Robert West crafts and engaging, succinct narrative of the Saint's life.
Francis grew up in a merchant class home at the end of the feudal era. The young man enjoyed a frivilous, but not trouble-free, existence in his lust to become a knight. Abject defeat and humiliation in a prison stay set his path to one of the most storied conversion stories of all time. The author initially takes a lot of liberties surmising scenes from what little is known about Francis' youth. This decreases as the historic record clarifies after his conversion.
For a man who valued solitude and renounced all worldly goods and ambition, Francis often found himself in the center of difficult events. West explores the corruption of the church, and the struggles Francis encountered in trying to bring peace to one of the crusades, only to return home and find the brothers of his order were laxing rules he viewed as critical to the Franciscan way of life. He was a man of peace, but one of passion.
Noteworthy is West's dedication to weave the narrative both chronologically and thematically. Every detail and personality introduced throughout the story continues to play a role in the story throughout the events that follow.
The story of Francis' final months is both beautiful and heartbreaking, concluding with a tribute to Francis composed by an unlikely source.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”