What type of men were the popes of modern times -- From Leo XIII up to and including John XXIII? Francis Sugrue here sketches human interest portraits of the six Pontiffs so identifiable in the context of the continuing history of the papacy. Beginning with the crisis in that history at the time of the election of Leo XIII, ""the workingman's Pope"", through the election and reign of St. Pius X, the ""Peasant Pope"", the ""Charitable"" Benedict XV, the ""Courageous"" Pius XI, foe of the modern dictators, the ascetic Pius XII who taught Catholics they must play a vital role in a changing world, to the present reigning pope, Sugrue's brisk paced prose gives vibrancy to what could be a dull recital of facts. The liveliness of characterization which typifies the best of American newspaper feature reporting produces a ""you-see-it-now"" urgency in these sketches. The reader sees how the key figures helped to shape the history of the world as the papacy returned to its own as an influence. Achievements are reported, but so are failures as well as failings. Brisk, animated incidents abound in all the accounts. American newspaper editorials supply documentation and dramatize the evaluation of each pope made by the author. They tend to substantiate the author's opinion that these popes made the Church ""young and resilient and aware in worldly matters"" and ""as strong spiritually"" as it has been in history. From the detailed descriptions of the election of Leo XIII (which will be timely whenever a new Pope is elected) to the evaluation of the problems John XXIII faces, the book stands as a distinct contribution to an understanding of the great influence of the Catholic Church in the world today.