A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century
A Singular Bond That Changed History
Even as historians credit Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II with hastening the end of the Cold War, they have failed to recognize the depth or significance of the bond that developed between the two leaders.
Acclaimed scholar and bestselling author Paul Kengor changes that. In this fascinating book, he reveals a singular bond—which included a spiritual connection between the Catholic pope and the Protestant president—that drove the two men to confront what they knew to be the great evil of the twentieth century: Soviet communism.
Reagan and John Paul II almost didn’t have the opportunity to forge this relationship: just six weeks apart in the spring of 1981, they took bullets from would-be assassins. But their strikingly similar near-death experiences brought them close together—to Moscow’s dismay.
A Pope and a President is the product of years of research. Based on Kengor’s tireless archival digging and his unique access to Reagan insiders, the book reveals:
- The inside story on the 1982 meeting where the president and the pope confided their conviction that God had spared their lives for the purpose of defeating communism
- Captivating new information on the attempt on John Paul II’s life, including a previously unreported secret CIA investigation—was Moscow behind the plot?
- The many similarities and the spiritual bond between the pope and the president—and how Reagan privately spoke of the “DP”: the Divine Plan to take down communism
- New details about how the Protestant Reagan became intensely interested in the “secrets of Fátima,” which date to the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fátima, Portugal, starting on May 13, 1917—sixty-four years to the day before John Paul II was shot
- A startling insider account of how the USSR may have been set to invade the pope’s native Poland in March 1981—only to pull back when news broke that Reagan had been shot
Nancy Reagan called John Paul II her husband’s “closest friend”; Reagan himself told Polish visitors that the pope was his “best friend.” When you read this book, you will understand why. As kindred spirits, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II united in pursuit of a supreme objective—and in doing so they changed history.
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