The Pulitzer-winning author of The Pope and Mussolini takes on a pivotal, untold story: the bloody revolution that spelled the end of the papacy as a political power and signaled the birth of modern Europe. The longest-reigning pope, Pope Pius IX, also oversaw one of the greatest periods of tumult and transition in Church history. When Pius IX was elected in 1846, the pope was still a king as well as a spiritual leader, and the people of the Papal States sang his praises, hopeful that he would reform the famously corrupt system of "priestly rule" over which his much unloved predecessor, Gregory XVI, had presided. At first, Pius IX tried to please his subjects, replacing priests with laymen in government and even granting the people a constitution. But, as the revolutionary spirit of 1848 swept through Europe, the pope found he could not both please his subjects and defend the rights of the church. The resulting drama--involving a colorful cast of characters, from Louis Napoleon Bonaparte and his rabble-rousing cousin Charles Bonaparte, to Garibaldi, Tocqueville, and Metternich--was one of treachery, double-dealing, and international power politics. By its end, the Papacy--and Europe--was transformed.