Monday, March 23, 2020

Book Review: 'The Knights of Columbus: An Illustrated History' by Andrew T. Walther and Maureen H. Walther

The Knights of Columbus by Andrew T. Walther and Maure...

A venerable brotherhood serving the community

Two fine authors have created this definitive history of the Knights of Columbus; Andrew T Walther earned his degrees from USC and taught writing there as well as serving as VP for Communications and Strategic Planning for the Knights of Columbus. Maureen H Walther earned her degree in Comparative Literature and Medieval Studies from Princeton University and has served as Special Assistant to the CEO of the Knights of Columbus. It is evident why they understand the subject of this major publication they have written.

In this prodigiously illustrated, researched, and written book the many unknown aspects of the order of the Knights of Columbus surface in a manner that reads more like a novel than a history book: the excitement generated in reading this impressive volume may come as a surprise to those many who have heard the name of the organization, but have never appreciated its strengths and impact. As the provided information on the books back cover shares, this book ‘presents the story of this remarkable organization - and the many ways in which it has helped individuals, while also helping shape American and world history at key moments. You will discover the Knights’ decisive contributions during times of disaster as far back as the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 and as recently as Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey. The book presents K of C's very public resistance to the Ku Klux Klan and its message of hate in the 1920s―just one example of the Knights’ stand against bigotry. Also featured is the Knights’ respect for the importance of education, as the group worked to rectify the historical inaccuracies of the nation’s textbooks and narratives during the 1920s. That work would help to tell the previously overlooked stories of America’s Catholics, African Americans, and Jews, among others. Also highlighted is the organization’s active role in the fight for religious freedom throughout the world, from its involvement in ending the Mexican government’s persecution of Catholics during the 1920s to its current work to end persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East and provide assistance for ISIS genocide survivors. K of C support for America’s troops and veterans saw soldiers through two world wars and continues today.’

Yet that summary is only the tip of the mountain of information and facts shared in this book. This may one of the more important reference books about his major, important 138 year old community outreach organization. Recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.