Wednesday 21 September 2022

Saint Maximilian Kolbe A Hero of the Holocaust - Fiorella De Maria and John Herreid - Vision Books

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: 
A Hero of the Holocaust
John Herreid (Illustrator
ISBN 9781621643227 
eISBN 9781642292213

I have read nearly all the books written by Fiorella de Maria, I absolutely love her fiction but the two biographies of saints she has written are amazing. Her hagiography is excellent. This book is part of the Vision Books Biographies now published by Ignatius Press. And it part of Ignatius’s expansion upon the original titles called New Vision Books. It is the fifth in the series currently in print that I have read, the first was Saint Jose, Boy Cristero Martyr. And I have read two of the out of print versions not yet and maybe never back in print with Ignatius. I did some research on the Vision Books for Young Readers and from the books I have read can state that they are excellent reads for teens, young adults and adults. This was an excellent read and I understand that Ignatius has several other titles in the work to expand the series. But back to this volume. The description of the book is:

“Maximilian Kolbe's decision to take the place of a condemned man in the Auschwitz concentration camp is one of the greatest stories of heroism to emerge from the Holocaust. This book brings to life for a younger audience the incredible story of a Polish weaver's son who grew up to be a priest, a missionary, and a martyr.

Kolbe lived amid the political unrest, the social change, and the spiritual battles that shaped the modern world. In the thick of it all, he had one goal—to share the love of God with as many people as possible. And he was a great innovator, spreading the Gospel through multimedia—a work that took him all the way to Nagasaki, Japan.

With his deep love for Our Lady, Kolbe also founded a Marian movement that has spread throughout the world, the Militia Immaculatae, also known as the Knights of the Immaculata. His imitation of Mary's tremendous trust in God enabled him to bring hope everywhere he went, including a prison camp.”

And the author bio is:

“Fiorella De Maria, an Anglo-Maltese writer living in Surrey, England, studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge. A winner of the National Book Prize of Malta, she has published eight other books with Ignatius Press, including A Most Dangerous Innocence, We'll Never Tell Them, and the Father Gabriel Mystery series.”

The chapters in the book are:

1. The Boy with the Two Crowns
2. Students and Brothers
3. A Novice in the Eternal City
4. A Priest and a Knight
5. How a Printing Press Founded a City
6. A Tiny Elephant Leads Maximilian to Japan
7. Poland’s Agony Begins
8. February 1941: Into the Hands of His Enemies
9. Auschwitz
10. Kolbe’s Choice

I had previously read a couple of books about Saint Maximillian Kolbe so much of what is contained in this volume is not surprising. But this volume went much deeper into his time in Asia than any other I have read. The writing in this book is excellent. Once I started reading I could hardly put it down. De Maria has a way with a turn of phrase and flowing prose that capture and enthral the reader. Even knowing the story, I stayed up way to late one night while away for a weekend because I just could not put it down. 

I plan on reading all the books in this series that are in print and as many of the out of print that I can track down. I returned to this series because I had finished the 38 books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. Those books are geared for a younger audience, and these are written for older readers and go deeper into the subject matters of each volume. This is a n excellent book in a wonderful series. My only complaint is that only about a third of the books are available in digital formats, with my dual form of dyslexia and my son’s eye tracking issues eBooks are our preferred format. Fortunately I was able to pick up the eBook of this one a few weeks after the print edition was released. These books are written for a Middle Grade or Teens in mind, but this one and the others I have read are excellent volumes for readers of all ages. A well written biography of an amazing Saint, I can easily recommend this book. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Other books about Saint Maximillian Kolbe:
Maximilian Kolbe and the Victims of the Nazis - Mary Craig, Bruce Kent, M.N.L. Couve de Murille, and Paul Riesterer - CTS 20C Martyrs

Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 

Out of Print books in the Series:
Brother Andre of Montreal 
Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges 
Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls 
Christmas and the Saints 
Columbus and the New World 
Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne 
Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross 
Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy 
Good Pope John b
Governor Al Smith 
In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States 
Irish Saints 
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot
John Neumann, The Children's Bishop 
Kit Carson of the Old West 
Lydia Longley, the First American Nun 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher 
Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World 
Modern Crusaders 
More Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Mother Barat's Vineyard 
My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic 
Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword 
Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves
Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd 
Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter 
Saints of the Byzantine World 
Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest 
St. Augustine and His Search for Faith 
St. Francis de Sales 
St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God 
St. Jerome and the Bible 
St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart 
The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming 
The Cross in the West 
The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure 
When Saints Were Young 

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