This ambitious survey launches a major new five-volume series. It explores the response of the papacy, one of the world's longest-enduring institutions, to the multiplying challenges of the modern age. It runs from the French Revolution to the fall of the Soviet Union, ending with the pontificate of John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope since 1522. Frank Coppa examines the impact of major events like the Napoleonic conquests, Italian unification, two World Wars and the Cold War; he explores the attitudes of the papacy to such issues as liberalism, nationalism, fascism, communism and the modern, secular age; he examines the growing concern of the popes for the Catholic world beyond its traditional European home; and he tackles, objectively and judiciously, contentious topics like the "silence" of Pius XII. Engrossingly readable, the book offers a fresh and invigorating perspective on international relations across the past two centuries, and on the political and ideological emergence of the modern world, as well as its specifically papal concerns.