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Linda Bird Francke, a former editor at Newsweek and award-winning journalist, is the author of Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military and Growing Up Divorced. She lives in Sagaponack, New York, with her husband, Harvey Loomis. From the Hardcover edition.
Francke (Ground Zero; Growing Up Divorced) invokes the legendary 13th-century saint as a spiritual tour guide of Italy, tracing Francis's footsteps to illuminate his spiritual and physical journey to sainthood. Submerged in the region's rich history, Francke traverses the country as Francis did for 20 years, lingering in Assisi (his birthplace), Venice and Rome, visiting chapels and devotional spaces bearing relics of his life or visual homage to the myths he inspired. Her vivid reimaginings create a window into Francis's life, which is blessed with an intriguing backstory that Francke skillfully revives in scenes of drama, despair and passion, as when Francis stridently severs ties with his father to a tittering crowd while "in the buff." She also lavishes attention on St. Clare, the feverishly devout nun who submits to the Franciscan order and falls desperately in love with its leader. Francke peppers her reverent yet witty account with local color and amusing anecdotes that usher history into the present, noting, for instance, that Peter Jennings kept on his desk a statue of St. Clare, as her miraculous witnessing of a Christmas church service marked history's "first live broadcast." Photos. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (On sale Nov. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Advance praise for On the Road with Francis of Assisi "The marvelous and moving story of Francis of Assisi comes to life in this thoroughly engaging and evocative book. The actual towns and churches produce a map of a journey you would give anything to make, in the saint's very footsteps. The book is a pleasure from beginning to end."-James Salter, author of Last Night "This entertaining and enlightening biographical travelogue describes vividly Francis of Assisi's growth from a wild and spoiled youth to a selfless itinerant preacher, passionate defender of the poor, and lover of all living things, who became one of the most beloved of religious figures, even among nonbelievers."-Mario Cuomo "In retracing the travels of the medieval saint who rattled all of Christendom, Linda Bird Francke has marvelously woven together the realities of the thirteenth century with those of the twenty-first in a way that will delight and inform readers, whether they are tramping the hill towns of Umbria or dreaming at home in their armchairs."-Peter Steinfels, co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture, author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America From the Hardcover edition.