I have been reading this book forever. Well, for about six months. I picked it up because I’m kind of intrigued by St. Francis, but I didn’t find this gripping. It’s a well-researched biography with all the caution that’s required if you’re going to write a reliable biography about someone who lived in the twelfth century. There are so many gaps and so little we can know for sure, which is realistic, but doesn’t always make gripping reading. It certainly made it clear that a lot of things we associate with St. Francis (including the well-loved “Prayer of St. Francis”) are based more in mythology than in the man’s actual biography, and that, like so many historical characters, the real Francis (insofar as we can know him) doesn’t fit as well with our modern sensibilities as we’d like him to. This was a competent and moderately interesting biography but it was a slow read and not one that completely engaged me. Still, it is thorough and probably an important book if you’re interested in Francis of Assisi.