The historian José Luis González Gullón says that “the idea of writing this history arose when I was preparing some classes that I gave in 2016 at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in Rome. Later, the historian John F. Coverdale joined the project and, for five years, we have researched the available archives and resources and conducted many interviews with some of the key protagonists.”
Regarding the joint work of two historians from different cultures and continents, González Gullón says that it has been very enriching: “Coverdale is an academic with extensive knowledge of the history of Europe and the United States in the 20th century. Working with him has helped to incorporate different and at times disparate points of view.”
“We have tried to tell the story as it really happened, with all the relevant facts, both the successes and the failures. For example, we include the controversies that arose around the beatification of the founder, and various accusations of alleged elitism and secrecy. It seems to us that the analysis of these conflicts will help to ‘normalize’ the study of this institution in the Church.”
González Gullón adds that “John Coverdale and I both are members of the Work and, without a doubt, the book reflects our own view of the future of an institution to which we have dedicated our lives and which is our family. At the same time, we strive to be rigorous in employing historical methodology. We were delighted by the comment of a professional historian who, after reading the draft, said that he didn’t find it to be a ‘hagiography,’ although our appreciation for the men and women who have helped make the Work a reality, and first of all for its founder, is evident.”
Volume One covers the years from its founding in 1928 to the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. Volume Two will continue the story up to 2016.