Saint Francis | Robert West

In Saint Francis, West successfully made life and times of a thirteenth-century saint come alive.

I chose to review this book because I didn’t know much about Francis other than a few folktales and the hymn, “All Creatures of Our God and King”. It turns out there’s a lot more to Francis than a madman singing to the birds. He walked across battle lines during one of the crusades and tried to convert the Sultan. He took the pope’s derogatory remark to go and roll in pig filth literally and still managed to secure a second audience. Even aside from the miracles—communication with animals, stigmata, etc.—Francis lived a remarkable life.

There were times in the biography where West clearly added circumstantial details to make Francis’ life more vivid. You often read statements like, “It does not take much of a leap to envision Francis and his Sons of Babylon fighting rival gangs” (31), or, “The local priest may have known about the chamber and used the area to store foodstuffs” (71). This is due to the paucity of historic data West had to work with.

This is a fine introduction to the life of a remarkable God-touched saint.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program.

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