Fifty years have elapsed since the death of the first modern Pope, Leo XIII. His stature grows yearly as historians evaluated his contributions. Last year, the anniversary year, saw two books published. The one, a symposium edited by Edward T. Gargan, Leo XIII and the Modern World, (supplement p.307) took a varied look at what this great Pontiff and accomplished. An ""alleged"" biography, Leo XIII (1961 supplement p.879) by Brother William J. Kieffer, S.M., was a disappointing and amateurish effort. Fortunately, Katherine Burton, a well-known author, here has produced a readable, intelligent life of the first modern Pope. Delicately written, it, nevertheless, presents the facts in the life of Gioacchino Vincenzo Rafael Luigi Pecci without excessive coloring or sentimentality. The human qualities of this ""politically eager"" man of his times are painted realistically. The failings and strong qualities are equally depicted. In addition to presenting a clear cut life of a great man of his time, the author gives a background picture of the politics within and outside the Church. The reader sees all Leo XIII's facets -- master diplomat, statesman, politician, champion of social justice. It is a gratifying experience to get to know this great leader of Christianity who, ahead of his time, will be remembered especially for his great social encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which has been commemorated with appropriate encyclicals of their own by two later Pontiffs. Imprimatur.