The life-to-date of the Catholic priest best known as the president of Notre Dame. According to Hesburgh, all he ever wanted to be was a priest. The first and dullest part of this book recounts how he attained that goal--Catholic childhood in New York State, seminary at Notre Dame, years of doctoral study in Rome, chaplaincy during WW II. The pace quickens when Hesburgh is named president of Notre Dame at the astonishing age of 35. Immediately he starts firing incompetents, raising money, attracking top faculty and students. His brilliant success leads to innumerable other responsibilities--membership in the International Atomic Energy Commission and the US Civil Rights Commission, head of the Rockefeller Foundation, etc. These heady posts allow Hesburgh to pass along wonderful anecdotes about the high and mighty--Jimmy Carter calling from his Plains kitchen to ask for help with the Catholic vote, Pope Paul VI relaxing with NASA space films, Hesburgh himself getting presidential permission to fly in the supersecret SR-71 to satisfy his love of height and speed. The scenery switches rapidly from Rome to Antarctica to Moscow to South Bend to South Pacific; the action encompasses student revolt, arms negotiations, and marlin fishing. Here is a man who rushed up the ladder of success, powered by ""faith, vision, courage, imagination, and ingenuity,"" without--judging by the text--even a glimmer of self-doubt. As such, not only a fascinating read (once the characters are finally in place), but also a textbook example of priest as superstar.