Father Gasnier's reconstruction of what probably was the daily life of Joseph, the pious and law-abiding Jew who was the virginal father of the Redeemer, has special qualities which recommend it for wide reading. Unfortunately, however, these are somewhat blunted by the author's devotional emphasis. Here a biblical scholar offers the Popular audience the benefits of his personal studies of what life in Nazareth was like, eliminating and discounting various versions. By painting in the background, history and customs of the period he helps to fill out the skeletal references to Joseph in the Scriptures. While the book stays with the facts it fascinates, but when the author speculates about the reactions of Joseph and Mary to key incidents in the hidden life of Christ the resulting ""sweet"" picture -- as likely as his version may have been -- leaves a reader wondering why he stooped to do so. The book will serve to squelch many pious tales about St. Joseph which stem from the Apocrypha. It should further serve to nurture the ever growing popularity of this silent saint who ranks in greatness and veneration of Catholics in general only below the Blessed Virgin among the saints. Because so little has been written about St. Joseph the availability of Joseph The Silent will be cheered by the many devotees of this model for every man. Read uncritically, it will be found to be satisfying.