Saturday, November 12, 2022

Father Edward Dowling SJ "comes to life" in my new biography, writes James P. Pinkerton

A photo of Dowling graces James P. Pinkerton's review of Father Ed

I am grateful to veteran journalist and former White House official James P. Pinkerton for his deep and thoughtful review of my new biography Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor. Writing that Father Edward Dowling, SJ, "comes to life" in the book, he says,
To read Father Ed is to be carried back to a different era, when Catholic influence was at a peak, when Hollywood made church-centric films such as Boys Town, The Song of Bernadette, Going My Way, and The Bells of St. Mary’s, and when Dowling’s St. Louis was a major hub viz. another movie of that era, Meet Me in St. Louis. Figures such as Charles Lindbergh, Gerald P. Nye, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Judy Garland, and Fulton Sheen make appearances, ably contextualized. We even meet the descendants of Dred Scott, whom Dowling befriended and aided, and Father William Bowdern, the priest who inspired William Peter Blatty’s novel-turned-movie The Exorcist.
Read the entire review at The American Conservative.

Robert Ellsberg, my editor and publisher at Orbis Books (and son of Daniel Ellsberg) wryly remarked to me that having a review in The American Conservative was "an Orbis first"! That made me very happy—not because I am a regular reader of that magazine (the post-Trump era has left me more politically homeless than ever) but because Father Ed's message is too important to be confined to any particular camp. I want readers of every culture and faith, and of every political stripe, to discover him and be touched by his life as I have been.