Karol Wojtyla's extraordinary life was influenced by the events of the 20th century, and, as Pope John Paul II, he influenced events in turn. Born in southern Poland, Karol entered seminary under Nazi occupation, served as a cleric under Communist domination, and rose in the Church to the rank of Cardinal. In 1978, he emerged as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in more than four centuries. He has travelled more miles than all previous popes combined and has brought the worldwide population of Roman Catholics to a billion strong. This work is a tribute to his life and papacy.