PERSONAL: Married Jolanta Babiuch (a sociology professor). Education: Attended Oxford University and London School of Economics.
ADDRESSES: Home—Warsaw, Poland. Agent—c/o Geoffrey Chapman, The Continuum, International Publishing Group, The Tower Building, 11 York Rd., London SE1 7NX, England.
CAREER: In early career, worked in London, England, as a defense analyst; freelance journalist in Warsaw, Poland, 1988-2001; currently freelancing in both England and Poland. Member of editorial board, Carfax Publishing.
Vietnam: The Dilemmas of Reconstruction, Institute for the Study of Conflict (London, England), 1983.
The Helsinki Agreement: Dialogue or Delusion?, Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies (London, England), 1986.
Regular contributor to the National Catholic Reporter and the Tablet.
SIDELIGHTS: Jonathan Luxmoore is a freelance writer who specializes in religious stories for such periodicals as the Table and the National Catholic Reporter. In 1999 he teamed up with his wife, Warsaw University sociology professor Jolanta Babiuch, to write a history about the Catholic Church's contentious relationship with the communist bloc during the twentieth century in their book The Vatican and the Red Flag: The Struggle for the Soul of Eastern Europe. Going back to the nineteenth century and covering the actions of the popes through John Paul II, Luxmoore and Babiuch reflect on both the mistakes and triumphs of the church, which played a major role in both the rise and fall of communism. Although the authors do point out the errors of various popes, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "their pro-Church bias is revealed in the work's overall tone."
The Vatican and the Red Flag explains how the Catholic Church's unwillingness to recognize the significance of the Bolshevik Revolution and its refusal to confront the communist movement soon enough resulted in its failure to mobilize "Christians in general, and Catholics in particular, toward progressive social actions and in defying the premises of communism like class struggle," as Bill S. Mikhail related in the Journal of Church and State. However, by the 1980s, under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, the church managed to help turn the tide against the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc; many experts now acknowledge that the church played an important role in communism's downfall.
Reviewers of The Vatican and the Red Flag found it a useful and ambitious, if at times flawed, book that helps fill a gap in public knowledge between what is already in the history books and current events. For example, R. J. Stove, writing in the National Observer—Australia and World Affairs, commented that Luxmoore and Babiuch's book is significant for explaining the roles of such key figures as Alexei Adzhubei, Oskar Fischer, and Jozef Cyrankiewicz in the conflict between political ideology and religion. Although Stove found some minor factual errors, he concluded that "no review can indicate this survey's range: a range achieved without waste of wood-pulp, since at 351 closely-argued, lavishly-endnoted pages the publication is decidedly succinct. Repeatedly our authors compel reassessments of figures we thought we knew." In the Catholic Historical Review, contributor Dennis J. Dunn was disappointed that though the authors thoroughly discuss church policy, the book "never really comes to grips with the dynamic role of the Catholic Church in world history. As a result, it fails to explain the fundamental role of religion in sustaining the West against Communism." However, the critic still acknowledged that the book "helps to shed light on the pivotal role that the Catholic Church played in bringing down the Soviet empire."
Despite some criticism of The Vatican and the Red Flag, many reviewers believed it to be an accomplished text. "This important study raises many questions about religion and government and their often competing interests," concluded a Publishers Weekly critic. And Mikhail asserted, "Surely, the book is an important reading on the Cold War. It gives an interesting perspective on the spiritual dimension of the global rivalry between the East and the West, and between communism and capitalism."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Catholic Historical Review, October, 1999, Dennis J. Dunn, "Book Reviews: Late Modern European," p. 651.
Choice, November, 1999, C. M. Hand, review of TheVatican and the Red Flag: The Struggle for the Soul of Eastern Europe, p. 557.
Journal of Church and State, winter, 2001, Bill S. Mikhail, review of The Vatican and the Red Flag, p. 142.
Library Journal, November 1, 1998, Robert H. Johnston, review of The Vatican and the Red Flag, p. 114.
National Observer—Australia and World Affairs, winter, 2001, R. J. Stove, review of The Vatican and the Red Flag, p. 69.
Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1998, review of TheVatican and the Red Flag, p. 67.*