The author, Philip Freeman is the Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in, Iowa. He has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Classical Philology and Celtic Languages and Literatures.
One of the hardest parts about telling a story concerning Patrick is separating fact from fiction. Patrick is a beloved cornerstone of Irish lore. Thus, any research on Patrick uncovers countless tales, stories, bravado, and traditions; many of which are flat-out false and the origin of others have been emboldened by time and countless retellings.
In Freeman’s book he does a good job avoiding fiction. The author uses Patrick’s own writings and other factual sources to tell the story of his life. Where details are scarce Freeman uses history, anthropology and sociology to plug the holes with educated assumptions.
The author does an admiral job laying out the life of Patrick. Freeman masterfully tells the tail of a young man who was kidnapped and enslaved in a foreign land and ultimately returns to spend the final decades of his life sharing Christ to the very culture that enslaved him. Patrick battled violence, pagans, robbers and even his own church to evangelize the Irish.
Freeman relies on Patrick’s own writings to paint a picture of this missionary who spent 40+ years bringing Christ to the forgotten country of Ireland. The Roman Empire and the Christian church viewed Ireland and barbaric and unworthy of effort. Patrick spent the final decades of his life sharing Christ in Ireland and combating those who would try to impede him.
As hard as the task was, Freeman has expertly shared the amazing facts of Patrick’s life and works and left the fiction for others.