The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas

by William J. Bennett

Hardcover, 2009



Call number

922.22 NIC



Call number

922.22 NIC




William J. Bennett chronicles the life and deeds of Saint Nicolas, dispelling comparisons to his popular, fictional counterpart and revealing how he actually fits into the Christmas story.

Local notes



Howard Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, 116 pages


1416567461 / 9781416567462


(12 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member taterzngravy
The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas is a short book, but an enjoyable read. It is not a scholarly book on Saint Nicholas, but it is an informative book of the man and his time that will help the reader understand the traditions of history.

William J. Bennett tries to get us to see Nicholas' life not through wringing out identifiable facts, for there are few, but through the life at the time. If other Christians studied books, such as the Didache, then so did Saint Nicholas. If other believers memorized certain chapters from Psalms then so did he. In so doing, Bennett fleshes out the Church Father who later became known as Santa Claus.

I would have preferred an attempt to nail down more facts and to identify more sources. One does wonder how true of a portrait of this man this book really is. But like any author, Bennett makes his choices and then follows them to the conclusion. He does provide a list of other books to read.

The True Saint Nicholas is a good book to be read during the Christmas season to remind us all of the history that has brought us to this point.
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LibraryThing member larrydellis
A simple and easy to read historical book about the original St. Nicholas. There are many legends and myths that surround the Bishop of Myra in the later third and early fourth century. Bennett sets the tone accurately within history from that period. We have no known writings by this bishop, but his impact was significant in his time.… (more)
LibraryThing member Maydacat
This well researched and well written book gives a succinct yet thorough view of the man who came to be known as Saint Nicholas. We learn of his birth and background, his life, and his death. The author discusses what qualities of generosity and helpfulness Nicholas possessed. The book also details the regard people had for Nicholas long after his death. Also included are the legends and myths that surround him, and the ways in which various countries and cultures adapted these legends. The author also explains how America’s Santa Claus was derived from these legends and popularized by poems, art, and advertising. It is amazing how much history and detail is contained in these few pages; it’s a fascinating account. Highly recommended for any history buff or Christmas aficionado.… (more)


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