The Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, in his nearly 27 years as pope, canonized more saints and beatified more blessed or beati than any of his predecessors combined. He wanted to provide the Church with more examples of those who lived the Christian life to the best of their abilities either as martyrs or as those who died to Christ by living a good and for many an ordinary way of life.
This book is divided into two parts, saints and blessed. Each part is arranged alphabetically. The name of the saint or blessed is given with dates that the person lived. When there is an entry for a group, which is usually martyrs, the date of their deaths occurred are given. In the group entries, the names of the martyrs are given with some having a short biography. In some cases, the names are only listed and their dates are given. This occurs when there are a number of martyrs as in the case of the Vietnamese or Chinese Martyrs.
The length of the entries vary. At the end of each entry is a quote from Pope John Paul that he spoke at the canonization or beatification ceremony. Saintsí feast days are given at the end of each entry. These dates, though, are not always accurate. This book is quite readable. There should have been more time spent on proofreading the book since there are some typos and other errors, but they are not major obstacles to reading the entries.
There are black-and-white illustrations of some of the saints or beati. The Bunsons have updated some of the entries where Pope Benedict XVI has canonized someone that Pope John Paul beatified. At the end of the book are lists of the beatifications and canonizations that Pope John Paul II conducted by date. There is also an index.
Matthew E. Bunson has been the editor of the Catholic Almanac. He is the author of
We Have A Pope! Benedict XVI (2005), Our Sunday Visitorís Encyclopedia of Catholic History (2004),
Our Sunday Visitorís Encyclopedia of Saints (2003) with Margaret and Stephen Bunson;
Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire (2002), The Catholic Almanacís Guide to the Church (2001) and others. Margaret Bunson is the author of
John Paul IIís Book of Mary (2005), Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (2002),
Faith in the Wilderness (2000) with Stephen Bunson, Kateri Tekakwitha (1998), and others.
John Paul II's Book of Saints is highly recommended to those interested in the lives of saints and beati.