Sympathetic and Scholarly
Lucid, readable, and balanced, Kenneth Woodward's scrupulously researched book is high-quality work from a veteran journalist. Woodward covers the history of the canonization process in his opening chapters, and goes on to focus on the status quo in the late twentieth century. As his title suggests, he explores the theology behind saint-making, as well as how the social concerns--and, sometimes, political agendas--of different groups within the Church affect the development of an individual process.
Some of the case studies Woodward gives of ongoing processes have become outdated since the book was first published in 1990. However, the structure and content of his work provide enough information (and provoke enough questions) that this can function as an interesting platform for further study; it does not render his scholarship null. Recommended for specialist and non-specialist, religious and non-religious readers alike, as Woodward's approach is scholarly, but never abstruse; respectful, but never complacent or naive.