Jon Sweeney is the editor-in-chief of SkyLight Paths Publishing and the author of The St. Francis Prayer Book: A Guide to Deepen Your Spiritual Life (Paraclete, February 2004). His work has been featured on PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and in various magazines including Spirituality & Health, The Merton Seasonal, and Sacred Journey. He lives in Vermont.
First published in France in 1894 and out of print for several decades, Paul Sabatier's biography of Francis of Assisi was considered the first modern account of the saint, sifting through layers of myth and legend to discover the flawed but extraordinary man who inspired so many people. Now, Sabatier's text is dusted off for a contemporary audience. Jon Sweeney's The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of Saint Francis, by Paul Sabatier, offers an excellent introduction to the text, helpful sidebars and notes and fascinating illustrations, not only to introduce readers to the saint but to aid them in engaging "personally with Francis, the human being." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"[The Road to Assisi] confirms the enduring genius and attraction of this first modern biography of Francis of Assisi. Sweeney's careful editing is a labor of love."
This biography of St. Francis is essentially a reworking of the 1894 classic Vie de S. Fran?ois d'Asaise by French Protestant Paul Sabatier (1858-1928). Translated into many languages, it became the main source of information about the simple man from Assisi and controversial enough to be placed on the infamous Roman index of banned books. Today, under the editorial guidance of Sweeney (Praying with Our Hands: 21 Practices of Embodied Prayer from the World's Spiritual Traditions), this balanced, long-out-of-print work is again in the hands of readers. Sweeney has carefully updated the language of the 19th-century text, corrected errors, and supplied sidebar commentary of salient historical facts, taking into account much of what has been written about St. Francis both before and after the Sabatier biography. The original text, which maintained a delicate balance between scientific investigation and hagiographic "myth," has been retained here. In addition to honoring the Sabatier text, Sweeney provides a glossary of terms, a full index, summaries of major characters associated with St. Francis, and a current bibliography of recommended readings, all to assist the reader in truly encountering St. Francis of Assisi. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries collecting religious biography. [This book has been selected for the BOMC, Literary Guild, and History book clubs.-Ed.]-John-Leonard Berg, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Platteville Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.