This is the curious and fascinating biography Of Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit Father of the high Renaissance who went to the Far East to discover and Christianize China. How he attempted to fulfill this arduous assignment between the last years of the 16th century and the first quarter of the 17th constitutes the heart of this book which is drawn from his own letters and reports. Many of his adventures were fabulous- but Ricci's methods of peaceful infiltration are the most interesting. He sought to combine the best in Oriental culture- and this he considered to be Confucianism as against the more mystical cults of the Buddhists and Taoists-with the best in Christianity and Western culture. He donned Chinese robes, learned the ways of mandarin etiquette, and taught the delighted Chinese all the latest in Western mathematics, astronomy, music, and clock-making. He learned the classical language perfectly, discussed monism with philosophers, nursed the sick, and there were few areas to which his lively intelligence and warm affection were not attracted. Cronin writes with intensity and restraint, and this is a memorable record of intellectual and spiritual communication which has crossed the centuries to attract a contemporary audience.