Biography of Saint Francis by Robert West
Biography is not my favorite genre, but after being pleasantly surprised by several memoirs this year, I chose the biography of Saint Francis by Robert West to review for Booksneeze. I can remember why biography is not my favorite genre.
Saint Francis is often best remembered as the animal saint, but I was surprised to learn that he was well-know for starting a poverty-seeking monastic order. Born to a wealthy merchant in Assisi during the Crusades, young Francis was brought up to be a merchant and a knight. After some fighting days and carousing days as a young man, Francis was converted to "Lady Poverty" and went on to denounce all kinds of wealth and possessions and to form a monastic order devoted to poverty.
West's biography relates early details of Francis's life- which seem to be rather sketchy- as well as the history of the time which is rather interesting. I found it rather dry reading, however- probably due more to my prejudice against the genre than lack of writing ability on the author's part.
If you enjoy biographies, this one would probably be worth reading. The historical background was the most interesting part for me. Apparently this book was also one of a series called Christian Encounters based on the lives of well-known Christians. Biography readers may enjoy finding the whole series.
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