Disregard the Teddy White title and the Time subtitle: this is a breezy, gabby, newsy, emotional as-told-to-my-tape-recorder journal of three years (1975-78) in the life of a rising Vatican watcher. Greeley's report falls far short of Peter Hebblethwaite's recent Year of the Three Popes (p. 236) in its feel for the Roman scene; but it has a sort of messy â‰¤lan, a feisty, noisy fan's eagerness to follow the game, to cheer the home team whenever possible, and to boo them whenever necessary, that do much to redeem it. Greeley is the classic Innocent Abroad, the eager-beaver social scientist trying to come to terms with a world that offends both his sense of fair play and his Chicago-trained sinuses. We see him hunched over cafe tables chatting conspiratorially with his ""sources"" (he calls the chief insider ""Deep Purple""), bouncing from press conference to papal appearances, straining after the hard facts in a city where, the adage has it, everything is a mystery and nothing is a secret. Greeley's account contains no stunning revelations, but it does provide a mass of information (all of it, naturally, unverifiable) about factional maneuvering before and during the two conclaves. Perhaps Cook County isn't such a bad background, after all, for getting to know the likes of Cardinals Benelli, Felici, and Siri. Greeley goshes and gee-whizzes all over the place (describing Koening of Vienna as ""Austrian but German-speaking,"" and Albino Luciani's personal style as ""thoroughly Italian, in the good sense of the word""), but he manages to give a boldly accented, coherent picture of the great transition from Paul VI to John Paul II, from a left-centrist-maverick viewpoint.