The author of Damien, the Leper has written a one volume, concise, readable, enlightening history of the papacy. This is no white-washing job. He gives the reader the sense of the integration of the papacy with the stream of history. He goes back to the first three centuries of persecution; then with freedom, dissension within the ranks, and the Church proving stronger than the schisms. The invasion of Barbarians -- the Church survives. The Mediaeval Church -- monasteries keeping learning alive through the Dark Ages -- the 7th century bringing Mohammedanism -- the tightening links between Church and State -- scandal and worse, with brief attempts at reform -- the Crusades -- the Renaissance -- the Inquisition -- the Reformation -- conflict, within and without -- the slow growth of the liberal aspects. Finally, the modern papacy, its relation to the outside world. A vast canvas, peopled with human figures, dramatic, readable.