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Pius XII: The Hound of Hitler.

Pius XII: The Hound of Hitler. Gerard Noel. Continuum. [pounds sterling]20.00. [v] + 220 pages. ISBN 978-1-84706-355-7. The debate over Pius XII's role during the Second World War rumbles on, fed by the move to canonise him on the one hand and the continuing attacks by those who keep the flame of the Holocaust bright. As bad are some of the defences of the Pope by well meaning but ill-informed enthusiasts. This study of Pius XII is based in part on information from those close to him and sets out not to defend but to get at the truth of an 'extraordinary life' with its own share of 'mystery' (including the Pope's long but platonic friendship with Sister Pasqualina). We are reminded that the Vatican did more to save Jews (about 860,000), more than 'every other such initiative, both governmental and international, put together'. Mr Noel also reminds us that when the Pope did speak out things only got worse for those he wished to defend. Any defence would have had no affect whatsoever with either Hitler or Stalin. But Mr Noel is not concerned just to go yet again over this tired debate. He is concerned with unravelling the complex personality of a man ill-suited for his position. His study will not please Pius's defenders or opponents but it will give all interested in the truth a balanced and objective portrayal of an unusual man. (J.M.)
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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