The biggest challenge when researching prominent figures from recent history isn't finding information, but deciding which of the numerous resources to concentrate on. We found these to be most helpful in preparing this issue.

Karl Barth

Barth's Church Dogmatics fills a bookshelf, but a careful reading of volume one alone will richly reward the patient reader. His commentary on The Epistle to the Romans (Oxford, 1968) shook the theological world. It's another dense book but full of Barth's energy. For something completely different (especially for Mozart fans), check out his little work Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Eerdmans, 1986).

The best biography, Eberhard Busch's Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical Texts (Fortress, 1976) gives not only Barth's life but allows Barth to speak throughout.

Billy Graham

William Martin's A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story (Morrow, 1991) leads the pack of Graham biographies. Martin had access to an astonishing amount of information, including nearly 200 interviews; the book's "Notes" section alone is 100 pages long. For photos, quotes, and coffee-table appeal, the best choice is Billy Graham: God's Ambassador (Time-Life, 1999) by Graham's longtime photographer, Russ Busby. Some of Graham's classic messages, as well as ministry news and other current information, can be found at his official Web site (www.billygraham.org).

John XXIII

For those interested in the life of Angelo Roncalli, plus a whole lot of information on the inner workings of Catholic hierarchy, it's tough to beat Peter Hebblethwaite's Pope John XXIII: Shepherd of the Modern World (Doubleday, 1985). For a collection of perspectives on the pope's main accomplishment, Vatican II, see the entry in Edwin S. Gaustad's ...

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