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"God's Bankers" begins with intrigue, and Mr. Posner's descriptions of the Holy See and the tiny nation (thanks to Mussolini, of all people) that surrounds it kept me captivated. For many chapters -- but then I was done.
I am certain the author did an incredible amount of research, but he could have cut quite a bit of content to keep the book on track.
World War II obviously had a lot of action, and this is the section of the book in which Mr. Posner's loose ends begin to show. He jumps from Italy (but that's a given ... the Vatican is surrounded by Italy) to Germany, then we're in Croatia, next stop is the unified Yugoslavia, and so on. The U.S., Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Austria, the U.K., Spain, Argentina and the rest of South America, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and more are present and accounted for as well.
Narrator Parks did a great job of pronouncing names with appropriate accents of the multiple languages of these countries, but, as a listener, keeping track of who or what was where and why outweighed the pleasure of listening to the book.
Posner also made sure to note all (alleged) incidents of anti-semitism. I realize anti-semitism and World War II readily go hand-in-hand, and I don't doubt the Roman Catholic Church -- popes too -- had its fair share of anti-semites. But the repeated accusations of anti-semitism morphed into a bugaboo. When there was nothing more to say, he tossed in anti-semitism to show the pope being discussed was an extra-inappropriate chief of state of the world's only elected, non-hereditary, absolute monarchy. I'm not saying Mr. Posner was wrong when citing anti-semitism. It's just that anti-semitism became a more notable theme than the actual titular topic of the book.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
I love Vatican history but was skeptical of a book a out Vatican finance. Well, all fears gone. I couldn't stop listening! Epic! Great history, NOT BORING AT ALL.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful