It would be difficult to find an author more qualified to accomplish the aim of this book than distinguished French Academician. With reverence and scholarship, with imagination and a limpid style, the author undertakes a quest for the historical Mary. The cult of the Blessed Virgin in both Eastern and Western Christianity and Marian influences in the history of art have been so great that the significance of a solid work of this nature for the general reading public cannot be overestimated. The author discusses the sources of Marian conceptions in the Gospels, the Apocrypha, tradition and dogma and recreates a true historical picture of Mary herself and of Christian Marian devotion. The actual documents are then quoted, texts from Scripture, from the Fathers and from the Apocrypha. The last-named are little known today. Yet they have been the main source of inspiration for artists who have employed Marian themes in their works. A Catholic Book Club selection.