Books by George Weigel

George Weigel, one of America's most distinguished public intellectuals, is the author of a dozen books, including the international bestseller, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. Basic has been proud to publish his two most recent books


NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 17, 2019

"A must-read book for Catholics and devotees of religious history."
A fascinating look at the Catholic Church's encounter with modernity. Read full book review >
LESSONS IN HOPE by George Weigel
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 19, 2017

"A page-turner for fans of John Paul II, devotees of papal history, or those who simply enjoy a good and literate personal story."
The story behind the defining biography of John Paul II (1920-2005). Read full book review >
ROMAN PILGRIMAGE by George Weigel
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2013

"Engrossing, expansive pictorial study on a renewed Lenten discipline at the heart of Roman Catholicism."
Lent in Rome, one church at a time. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Feb. 5, 2013

"Long on evangelism, short on reform."
A call for pride, sincerity and depth in Catholic life and community. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 26, 2007

"A slim, easy-to-read volume that will appeal to readers of the National Review."
Liberal apologists should quit pussyfooting around and recognize the inherent corruption of Islam. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

"A lucid account of Ratzinger's long theological career and likely manner of leadership in the future; of particular interest to reform-minded Catholics."
Vatican watcher Weigel (The Truth of Catholicism, 2001, etc.) considers the course of the church under the previous pope and the possible changes that the new one will bring. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 30, 2005

"Sure to be much discussed—and possibly to be remarkably influential."
Can the EU make the world safe for democracy? Not if it continues to deny its Christian roots, says Weigel (The Truth of Catholicism, 2001, etc.). Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"A bit too reverent to withstand scrutiny, this will find a welcome audience among believers but is unlikely to bring many others into their ranks."
A concise catechism of the Catholic faith, with specific reference made to common objections of nonbelievers, by papal biographer Weigel (Witness to Hope, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

A study that pays homage without degenerating into hagiography. Weigel has studied and written about Karol Wojtyla (pronounced "voy-TEE-wah"), better known as Pope John Paul II, for two decades. Here he records in detail—but, thankfully, not too much detail—the colorful events of the pope's life. After discussing Wojtyla's origins in Wadowice, Poland, Weigel gives an account of his work in avant-garde theater, his study in a clandestine seminary during WWII, his consecration as a bishop in 1958, his election as the first Slavic pope. In his examination of Wojtyla's papal career, Weigel pays close attention to his role in the collapse of communism (first explored in The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism, 1992), his writings and teachings on sexual intimacy, his international travel. According to Weigel, John Paul II's papacy has consisted primarily of variations on a single theme, first expressed in the pope's inaugural encyclical "Redemptor Hominis—: "Christian humanism as the Church's response to the crisis of world civilization at the end of the twentieth century." Working with the assumption that only people in freedom can encounter God's love, John Paul II has believed that the Church has an obligation to safeguard human freedom. Concomitant with this pledge to work for freedom runs an evangelistic streak. Drawing on Augustine's notion that human hearts are "restless until [they] rest in" God, the pope has held throughout his career that modern anxiety, malaise, and restlessness can only be quelled through Christ, so, as John Paul II's Church has worked for human freedom, it has also evidenced a rather Protestant-esque commitment to spreading the Gospel message. Massive in scope and length, and written with the pope's cooperation, Weigel's biography is sure to be the definitive work on Pope John Paul II for years to come. (illustrations, not seen) Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

A persuasive argument that the ``Revolution of 1989'' that brought freedom to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was, at bottom, a ``revolution of the spirit.'' According to Weigel (president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.), customary explanations for the collapse of the Iron Curtain fall short. Gorbachev was no more than a reform Communist who never abandoned his faith in Marxist-Leninism. Nor do economic, political, or historical forces explain the cataclysm. The key player, says Weigel—echoing Lech Walesa's analysis—was Pope John Paul II; the fall of Communism really began in June 1979, during the first papal visit to Poland (``a moral, even spiritual earthquake''); moreover, the `89 revolution was part of what Weigel calls ``the final revolution'': the turning of humans to ``the good, to the truly human—and, ultimately, to God.'' Detailing the moral degradation of Communism, Weigel argues that it is, at bottom, a sort of monstrous, upside-down religion—and that, as such, its main enemy has always been the Church. The disagreement, Weigel suggests as he traces the history of Church/Communist antagonism, is as basic as can be: While Marxist-Leninism sees people as pawns of history, Christianity proclaims the absolute dignity of the individual. During the earlier years of John Paul II's pontificate, the Church promoted its view energetically. The effort bore fruit in 1989, says Wiegel, when the revolutionary tradition of Jefferson and Madison triumphed over that of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, restoring ``the natural rhythms of history and society.'' And what of the future? Drawing from the writings of John Paul II and Vaclav Havel, Weigel maintains that society henceforth must be based on metaphysical truths about ``the transcendent destiny of human life.'' God is on our side, updated. And maybe this time God is; Weigel, at least, is convinced, stating that ``the Lord of history- -the Lord of the final revolution, if you will—is still capable of surprises.'' Read full book review >