Robert Payne seems to have been the Paul Johnson of a generation ago, his many books ranging from a sort of patristics, like this book, to histories of the Crusades and Islam, and biographies of Hitler and Gandhi. His style is popular, brisk, and colorful, yet his familiarity with the writings of the Fathers is unmistakable, and one cannot help but get a real sympathetic insight into the personalities and achievements of the critically important figures he examines, which include Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, John Chrysostom, Dionysius the Areopagite, John of Damascus, and Gregory Palamas. It is possible to truly encounter these men in Payne's book, and more than a few readers have come away with a lasting fascination for the patristic period on its account. 303 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Lives and writings of ten great leaders: Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and others. In them we see the apostolic fire become crystallized not only into dogma and external order but also into some of the world's great religious literature.