Saint Francis by Robert West is part of a series of biographies entitled Christian Encounters written by a variety of authors for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was pleasantly surprised to find another canonized Catholic saint among the titles offered - earlier this year I reviewed another title.
When I think of St Francis of Assisi, I picture a peaceful man standing in a field surrounded by serene animals. His clothing is simplistic and he leads an austere lifestyle. This biography paints a very different early life for St Francis - one that I never remember hearing about in all my years of Catholic schooling but maybe that's because we only focused on the virtuous times in saints' lives once they have found God.
West has done extensive research in writing about the life of St. Francis - he frequently quotes Thomas of Celano who wrote the first biography of Francis in 1230. The extensive endnotes show that West studied not only other writings about St Francis but also those by the saint himself as well as histories of the time period. There are times when details of Francis' life are speculation but they are based in the reality of how folks of his status lived in Italy.
This book is suitable for teens and adults wishing to learn more about the life of St. Francis. West has provided a balanced look at the saint's life including discussing Catholic matters (ie: Divine office, stigmata, etc) in an objective manner - neither dissing nor praising them.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”