Subtitled, ""The Story of Catholic Religious Orders Through the Ages"", this is a very informative, well-written, concise history of the most important ancient religious orders and modern religious societies and congregations in the Catholic Church. It is written by a layman for laymen. Both Catholic and non-Catholic is here afforded a clear explanation of the meaning and development of religious orders as their history is made to unfold against the background of patristic, medieval and modern times, both ecclesiastical and secular influences being considered together. A glossary, bibliography and index help to make the book very useful. Recommended for all who are interested in obtaining accurate information about the nature of the religious life in general, about the various religious orders in particular and about the role of religious orders in the development of western civilization.