- Author: Gerard Noel
- Format: Hardback
- Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd
- Published: 07 November 2014
- ISBN: 9781908096135
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There have been 264 popes since St Peter, and the papacy is the most enduring of all human institutions with an unbroken line from its inception. While a spiritual institution, it comes also with vast political power. As these engaging papal biographies show - written by Gerard Noel with an eye for telling anecdote - power comes with great temptations, particularly in the time up to World War II. There has been almost any imaginable type of pope. They have been married, wicked, sex-obsessed, wanton, possessed by genius and madness, brainwashed, deposed and murdered. Here you will find, for example, the the Borgia popes, Pope Julius II, the Renaissance pornographer pope who wrote saucy novels and whacked people he didn't like with his papal staff, or the more recent Pius XII whose embalming in 1958 failed miserably causing 'appalling eructations' from his coffin and a stench that made people faint.
Gerard Noel is a former editor of the Catholic Herald. He has made the papacy his lifelong subject and has written several books on the papacy and individual popes, many of whom are among the greatest patrons of the arts and the most intriguing people ever to have lived.