Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
A Bicentennial Compendium of Maynard J. Geiger’s The Life and Times of Fray Junipero Serra.
By Francis J. Weber. Hong Kong: Libra Press Limited, 1985. 104 Pages. $16.00.
This collection of pieces on Junipero Serra grew out of Francis J. Weber’s weekly series of articles for Catholic newspapers in California. They were begun in 1983, and are mostly short articles of less than five hundred words each, based “almost exclusively” upon Maynard J. Geiger’s The Life and Times of Fray Junipero Serra, O.F.M. (2 volumes, 1959). The fifty two articles cover Serra’s life and career from Mallorca to the movement to the New World to missionary work in Mexico to Serra’s California years. The selections are faithful to Geiger, but unfortunately that means that they also reflect the shortcomings of the original author. It also means that Weber has not incorporated new scholarship or interpretations which have merged in the generation since Geiger published his book. The result is another book on Junipero Serra which worships rather than informs.