In this historical tell-all entitled The Cardinals: Thirteen Centuries of the Men Behind the Papal Throne Michael Walsh provides the fullest account of the history of Rome's most influential power brokers.
Although they have been a highly visible part of the ecclesiastical furniture of the Vatican for thirteen centuries, surprisingly little has been written about cardinals who are appropriately often referred to as the 'papal princes' of the Roman Catholic Church.
These are the 'nearly men' of Catholicism, who might have been pope, but weren't, and have instead wielded their power behind the papal throne through the centuries. Walsh's informative and entertaining account traces the origins and growth of the cardinal office and tells the stories of more than sixty of the most notable and eminent men to wear the red cap.
Here are kingmakers, scholars, pastors, soldiers, and statesmen; venial rogues and bona fide saints; husbands, fathers, brothers, sons - and those whose fame lies simply in their faithful care of the dioceses entrusted to them.