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Biography offers highlights in interesting life of New York cardinal


This is the cover of "An American Cardinal: The Biography of Cardinal Timothy Dolan" by Christina Boyle. The book is reviewed by Brian T. Olszewski. (CNS)

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"An American Cardinal: The Biography of Cardinal Timothy Dolan" by Christina Boyle. St. Martin's Press (New York, 2014). 281 pp., $27.99.

Among U.S. Catholic leaders, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is probably, due to his role as archbishop of New York and to the attention he garnered in 2013 as a potential candidate for the papacy, the most recognizable Catholic leader in the country. Just as he's an excellent interview subject on the morning news programs, his life makes for interesting reading.

Boyle does well in organizing the giant steps that comprise the cardinal's life. Sandwiched between the run-up to the 2013 conclave and the election of Pope Francis, she sequences chapters covering the cardinal's boyhood, life as a seminarian in St. Louis and Rome, parish ministry, graduate and doctoral studies, a five-year stint at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, two years as seminary vice rector in St. Louis and seven years as rector of the North American College, his rise through the episcopacy -- auxiliary bishop in St. Louis, archbishop of Milwaukee and, seven years later, archbishop of New York -- and his subsequent elevation to cardinal.

As a reporter for the New York Daily News, Boyle began covering Cardinal Dolan in 2009, when he celebrated his final Mass in Milwaukee after being named archbishop of New York, and covered him through his participation in the conclave.

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