This image is the cover for the book Ten Popes Who Shook the World

Ten Popes Who Shook the World

“Simply brilliant” essays on the leaders who have most powerfully shaped not just the Church itself, but the course of human history (Catholic Library World).
The Bishops of Rome have been Christianity’s most powerful leaders for nearly two millennia, and their influence has extended far beyond the purely spiritual. The popes have played a central role in the history of Europe and the wider world, not only shouldering the spiritual burdens of their ancient office, but also contending with—and sometimes precipitating—the cultural and political crises of their times.
In an acclaimed series of BBC radio broadcasts, Eamon Duffy explored the impact of ten popes he judged to be among the most influential in history. With this “enlightening” book (Booklist), readers may now also enjoy Duffy’s portraits of these ten exceptional men who shook the world. Beginning with St. Peter, the Rock upon whom the Catholic Church was built, he follows with Leo the Great (fifth century), Gregory the Great (sixth century), Gregory VII (eleventh century), Innocent III (thirteenth century), Paul III (sixteenth century), and Pius IX (nineteenth century). Among twentieth-century popes, Duffy examines the lives and contributions of Pius XII, who was elected on the eve of the Second World War, the kindly John XXIII, who captured the world’s imagination, and John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 450 years. Each of these ten extraordinary individuals, Duffy shows, shaped their own worlds—and in the process, helped to create ours.
“The author is an accomplished writer who is able to make history read like a dramatic novel…Those looking for a concise and even entertaining primer to the papacy will find this collection, if not infallible, at least very worthwhile.”—Publishers Weekly

Eamon Duffy

Eamon Duffy is professor of the history of Christianity, Cambridge University, and fellow and former president of Magdalene College. He is the author of many prizewinning books, among them Fires of Faith, Marking the Hours, and Saints and Sinners, all available from Yale University Press. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

Yale University Press