Francis of Assisi by Augustine Thompson

Francis of Assisi

Among the most beloved saints in the Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226) is popularly remembered for his dedication to poverty, his love of animals and nature, and his desire to follow perfectly the teachings and example of Christ. During his lifetime and after his death, followers collected, for their own purposes, numerous stories, anecdotes, and reports about Francis. As a result, the man himself and his own concerns became lo...

Details Francis of Assisi

TitleFrancis of Assisi
Release DateApr 24th, 2012
PublisherCornell University Press
GenreReligion, Biography Memoir, Biography, History, Christianity, Catholic, Nonfiction

Reviews Francis of Assisi

  • Libby
    Francis of Assisi is everybody's favorite saint, you know, the sweet faintly hippieish guy who preached to the birds and invented the Christmas creche, right? Well---sorta right. This new bio by Augustine Thompson O.P. has something to say about that. Thompson's stated aim is to sift through the historical evidence and see Francis through the mist of miracle stories and wishful thinking. That's quite a task, especially as he admits in his preface...
  • Katie
    Francis of Assisi is the most malleable of medieval saints. People started projecting ideologies onto him within a few years of his death and the process has continued up to the present, to the extent that you can describe a thousand different Francises to fit nearly whatever mold you’d like. He’s liberal and conservative, an animal rights activist, a pacifist, an environmentalist, a feminist, a threat or a bolster to the early days of capita...
  • Andrew
    As some folks know, I am a secular Franciscan. But even it wasn't part of our Rule, I would still be reading books about the life of Francis of Assisi. I first became acquainted with the saint around 1971 when I visited a Catholic church in Kansas City with a group of young people from my Episcopal church, St. Mary's. The priest there was Franciscan, and had a sliver from one of the saint's bones preserved in a monstrance (a vessel used for displ...
  • Pat
    I wanted this book to be exceptional, and in a way it was. Certainly well researched and dispassionately written, I found it to be strangely cold and souless. It certainly does a good job of pointing out the inner struggles and contradictions in the man. I had only a casual interest in this book, and probably shouldn't have been surprised or dismayed by my discovery that it probably was not intended for the casual reader. In terms of structure, I...
  • Darrick Taylor
    Augustine Thompson's biography of Francis of Assisi is a fine works of scholarship that presents us with a some ways more "down-to-earth" version of the great saint than popular culture or even Franciscan tradition might be used to. Following a scrupulous method (which he explains quite well), Thompson, a Dominican Friar, eschews certain popular tales about Francis (such as the wolf of Gubbio) to focus as closely as possible on the Francis behind...
  • Patrick T.
    Perhaps the best way to begin a discussion of Francis of Assisi: A New Biography by Augustine Thompson, O.P. — a rich, austere and complex portrait of one of the most famous and admired saints in Catholicism — is to look at the greeting that Francis used:May the Lord give you peace.Francis said he learned this greeting from God, and Thompson writes:This phrase was not a command or a didactic instruction; it was a prayer. Its use placed Franci...
  • Alan Kern
    This book is as close as I could get to the real saint. I've always been fascinated by his figure, but have always been unsure as to what was real and what was fiction. Before this book, I read a popular but highly romanticized biography that took many creative liberties. Thompson, by analyzing the primary sources and applying a critical lens, was helpful in wading through the many legends about this saint and getting to the most accurate picture...
  • Maria Virginia Ross
    Life changing. I love this book because it's focused on fact on legend! Read my full review here:
  • Patrick
    A real solid biography written at a scholarly but accessible level. Great introduction to Francis.
  • Susan Frances
    Who was Francis of Assisi and how did he come to be the founder of a unit of the Catholic Church known as the Franciscan Order, which continues to survive today? Author Augustine Thompson traces the acclaimed friar’s history in his book Francis of Assisi: A New Biography describing him as a revolutionary man in his day early 13th century Italy. Francis’ mission to achieve an Apostolic Life explicitly based on the Scriptures caused conflict wi...
  • Br. Fred Jaxheimer
    I chose this book because it was described as a scholarly historical work that was described as unique and insightful by readers. The first half of the book is nicely flowing historical narrative. The second half of the book discusses and explains all the historical sources and alternate views of what occurred. I see the second half of the book, the discussions of those historical sources of more value to me down the road. The first part was for ...
  • P.e. lolo
    I have read other books about ST. FRANCIS, but this book made him more as a person and some one that was easier to relate to. There are parts of the story that are the same as in other books but this one goes into a little more detail. As to why he was depressed and what lead up to it. A lot of research went into this book and for me it was welcomed. Not the same story just retold. You find out that he had a time where he was parting and drinking...
  • Jan Frederik Solem
    Given the friendly rivalry and mutual respect of our orders, Dominicans and Franciscans, a Dominican writing a biography of St. Francis would be expected to do his very best. And so fr. Augustine Thompson OP, after several previous books on Italian Catholic piety of the period, has dared to turn his scholarship to the saint that we, too, in our litany of all saints, ask to pray for us: our father Francis. It is not for a Dominican to speculate, "...
  • John
    A fascinating and very documented book in the style of "a search for the historical Francis." More than half the book contains the author's notes on his choices of what to include and exclude in his retelling of the story of Francis.Some aspects of the book were very revealing and helpful. I plan to write a more extended review on my blog, but I have some questions. Most of all I wonder if he takes too strictly the exclusion of many stories that ...
  • Mike Carey
    This was a well researched biography and the author uses the entire 2nd section ( 175 pages) to cite the medieval sources and to discuss the often conflicting opinions about that research. So, an A for effort and diligent research but not so high a grade on writing a compelling biography of the man. The one thing that I did take away from the book was how incredibly humble this man really was. He was truly in love with Christ and treated his rela...
  • Susan Paxton
    It seems to have taken a Dominican - Augustine Thompson, OP - to write the closest thing to a strictly historical biography of the founder of the Franciscans that we are ever likely to have. Informed by his knowledge of the period, Thompson has carefully sifted through the historical sources for Francis and peeled away the legendary accretions. The portrait that emerges is a more difficult, challenging man than the plaster saint standing in so ma...
  • Elizabeth Joseph
    This book is very different from God's pauper by Nikos Kazantzakis about Francis Assisi. This is not something you can read casually. It tells you a lot of stuff that you may not want to know as far as Francis Assisi is concerned.Good for scholars doing research on his life..Then the best thing that this book conveys is that Francis Assissi was very human in nature as much any one could be...He had his own struggles, but by the grace of God he wa...
  • Tinika
    This book by Augustine Thompson is in two parts. The first half is a fascinating biography of St. Francis of Assisi. Trying to avoid the legends that accrued to this saint's cult after his death, Thompson searches for the historical man. What emerges is a personality both devout and conflicted, unsure how and unwilling to handle the role that is thrust upon him yet becoming an inspiration for both his own time and for ours. I got through this boo...
  • Jeanne
    This is a very scholarly approach to the life of St. Francis and the author is careful not to accept legends without some historical backing of their veracity. I found it fascinating at first, but I eventually got bogged down in the depth of the constant analysis and did not finish the book. On the other hand, I will now find it hard to read any other book about St. Francis because I will be skeptical of its truth. Sigh. Recommended for serious s...
  • Bill
    I have read a number of books on the life of St. Francis. Several have been more 'exciting' to read, yet mostly because they took tremendous liberties with the historical account and/or reiterated the myths with creative flair. Thompson's account is sometimes a bit tedious because it seeks to present historical records as accurately as possible. I chose this book because it was promoted as a history rather than a novel. I have not been disappoint...
  • Levaria
    I loved reading the 'true' story--or as much as the author could uncover. I also like how it analyzes more in depth in part II (which I only skimmed through, because I was more interested in the actual story of the man, rather than sources or modern debates). It is dry, and took some motivation to continue reading..but that, I guess, can be expected due to the scholarly context the author approached his subject.
  • Jason Walker
    If you like history and you like to know how historians construct their books, this is the biography os Francis of Assisi for you. However, it is also not well crafted for the story or biography reader. For me the narrative was good, the story is important for the impact the Jesuit order has had on history and culture - I liked the book. But I can see others not following its notes and end note system.
  • Matt
    The quest for the historical Francis. Thompson attempts to look past the hagiographical and devotional presentations of Francis and depict someone a little closer to the person that actually lived in Assissi. I've been reading several of the early hagiographical accounts and this book provided a nice balance.
  • Lyn
    Thoughtful and UpliftingA book that brings peace of spirit while you read and learn more about St. Francis of Assisi. The book is well written and easy to read. I found myself contemplating about how many of the prayers are still said and used – his thoughts and goals still relevant today. Enjoy! NetGalley provided an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • Eric Neubauer
    I really enjoyed the book and appreciated the down-to-earth / historical biography of St. Francis. It was short and to the point. I was a little disappointed in the light coverage of the stigmata & other spiritual experiences and how these shaped the man. I am now enjoying the content at the end of the book - I will be reading the suggested texts.
  • Kirsten
    Enjoyed reading it though I was upset that halfway through it became more of a scholarly paper giving more detail, chapter by chapter, about the first part. I wish the author could have found a way to work more of that in-depth info into the mainstream style of the first half.
  • Lee
    Works through the evidence to find the historical Francis. I appreciated his splitting the book into two: the life of Francis and then the run down on the sources, debates etc. This approach made it more accessible and enjoyable.
  • Nancy
    Here's where I write about this excellent new biography of St. Francis:
  • John
    Fresh new look at the life of St. Francis of Assisi!