Pope John Paul II's personal secretary, who is now Cardinal Dziwisz, had an insider's view of many of the events that shaped John Paul II's pontificate. Dziwisz was a seminary student in Krakow when he first encountered the man then known as Karol Wojtyla. He later became a close and trusted ally of the pope for four decades. The author does not hide his glowing opinion of the deceased pontiff; as he describes it, John Paul II stood courageously against the oppressive Communist regime in his native Poland, supported the nascent Solidarity movement and was beloved by people of all nations and religions around the globe. These two men enjoyed an intimate friendship and shared a love for Catholicism and their priesthood. Perhaps it is the closeness of that friendship that prevents Dziwisz from criticizing John Paul II for anything he did as pope. For example, his claim that "John Paul II's entire pontificate was a continual implementation of Vatican II" is widely debated. Despite the hagiographical tone, one thing is clearJohn Paul II was a formidable world figure in the latter half of the 20th century, and he never allowed his position to affect his ability to be a good friend. (Mar. 11) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.