Jonathan Kwitny draws on hundreds of firsthand accounts and eight years of research to reveal the pope in all his complexity. Debunking the theory of a "holy alliance" between the U.S. government and the Vatican, Kwitny shows that Solidarity won its victory despite the CIA; another myth - that the Pope was the victim of a "Bulgarian" plot engineered by the Soviet Union - is shown here to be an elaborate fabrication. The pope's forty-year-old first book - 250 underground copies were hand-printed in Poland at mortal risk to the author, publishers, and readers - is partially reprinted here for the first time, indicating political beliefs that he could not later espouse as prelate. A blend of Thomism, phenomenology, and existentialism, John Paul II's religious philosophy is revealed as a key ingredient of his political ideology. The author examines with scrupulous detail the relationship between John Paul II as a Pole and his church; his doubts about American capitalism, which perfects the work rather than the worker and overvalues corporate leaders; his worldwide battles for the poor and to right human wrongs; the reasons behind the pope's unwavering traditionalist values; and his attitudes toward women as revealed through interviews with the women who have shaped his life as well as exerted powerful influence on the Church's birth control ban. In addition, Kwitny interprets little-known intelligence documents, including a candid eight-page CIA report on the pope when he was cardinal and a never-before-revealed plot by the Vatican to unseat the head of the Polish church with the support of Western intelligence agencies.