In this towering work, Andr©? Vauchez draws on the vast body of scholarship on Francis of Assisi, emphasizing in particular the important research of the last 30 years. He creates a complete and engaging portrait of the saint, then explores how the memory of Francis was shaped by contemporaries who recollected him in their writings. Vauchez completes the book by setting "Poverello" in the context of his time, bringing to light what was new, surprising, and even astonishing in the life and vision of this man.The first part of the book is a fascinating reconstruction of Francis's life and work. The second and third parts deal with the myriad texts-hagiographies, chronicles, sermons, personal testimonies, etc.-of writers who recorded aspects of Francis's life and movement as they remembered them, and used those remembrances to construct a portrait of Francis relevant to their concerns. In the final part of the book, Vauchez explores those aspects of Francis's life, personality, and spiritual vision that were unique to him, including his experience of God, his approach to nature, his understanding and use of Scripture, and his impact on culture as well as culture's impact on him.