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Synopsis

The fascinating and highly relevant history of the turbulent relationship between the United States and the Holy See, recounted and analyzed by Italian journalist and Vatican insider Massimo Franco

Drawing on unique access to the archives of the Holy See and a range of sources both in Washington, D.C. and Rome, Parallel Empires charts the path of U.S.-Vatican relations to reveal the dramatic religious and political tensions that have shaped their dealings and our world.
Starting with the Holy See’s initial diplomatic overtures to the United States in the 1780’s, Franco illuminates a two-hundred-year-old history of alliances, mutual exploitation, and misperceptions. From the nativist anti-Catholicism of the nineteenth century, through JFK’s election as America’s first Catholic president and the cold war anti-Communist partnership between the United States and the Holy See, to the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1984, the story has never before been told quite like this. With U.S.-Vatican affairs still evolving in the present day, Parallel Empires also details the most recent developments of this ever-changing and often-tenuous relationship, including contemporary disagreements over the Iraq War and engagement with the Islamic world, and the Papacy of Benedict XVI.
Parallel Empires leaves no doubt regarding the impact that the struggle between these two great powers—one of secular might and the other of moral influence—has had on both our history and on today’s world. Franco’s insights are sure to have lasting relevance as U.S.-Vatican relations continue to evolve, and with religion’s undeniable influence on everything from domestic elections to international terrorism, his work will prove invaluable in coming years.

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