by Garry Wills

Princeton University Press, $19.95, 166 pages

This is the type of biography you normally don’t see. It is not a biography of Augustine, there are enough of those; it is not another translation of his Confessions, there are enough of those as well. What this is, and what it attempts to be, is a biography of Augustine’s Confessions.  It is part of a new series of books from Princeton University Press, exploring the lives of great religious books in short books for the average reader. Garry Wills takes on the Confessions by Augustine. He explores the world in which Augustine composed this work, how it might have come about and what motivated Augustine to write this work. Mr. Wills takes us through the world of Augustine of growing up in North Africa, becoming a tutor and then moving to Milan where he became a tutor and then a Christian. Later he would become a priest and then a bishop. Mr. Wills does a decent job, though at times he spends more time giving us a biography of Augustine, than a biography of his Confessions. This is a different kind of biography, one that you most likely will never see again.

Reviewed by Kevin Winter