Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.
Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 8(1982)3(266-267)
Tonna E., & Galea M., L-Arcisqof Gonzi. Vol. I - Malta (Klabb Kotba Maltin) 1981, pp. 181 illus. Vol. II - Malta (Associated News (M) Ltd) 1982, pp. 172 illus
These two volumes cover the life of Archbishop Gonzi up till 1964. However, the material they contain was first approved by Archbishop Gonzi himself which means, for me, that there might have been other unapproved material which had to he omitted. In other words, these books are a cross-breed between biography and autobiography containing the [p.267] acceptable parts but omitting the controversial whys and wherefores.
To be fair, the books do present some good descriptions of ceremonial of days now gone by but these certainly do not serve to help the reader one iota to make up his mind on how history may eventually judge Archbishop Gonzi. His life has spanned a great number of years and he was witnessed and been a protagonist in a great many profound changes - for better and for worse - in this island of ours. To mention but two instances, Archbishop Gonzi was a main protagonist in the two politico-religious questions of the 1930's and 1960's. Yet his part in them is simply recounted in a rather dry way as if they were run-of-the-mill events.
And it is exactly in this respect that these two volumes fail, for they do not, even remotely, try to analyse the important part which Archshop Gonzi played in the moulding of present-day Malta. Consciously or unconsciously, we are simply presented with some facts and nothing else. In fact, these two volumes may be termed as simple chronicles, sometimes jumbled-up, fit only to be deemed a starting point towards a future, proper writing of the life and times of one of Malta's most important 20th century personages. And, judging from these two volumes, we are in for another equally uninspired final book when it is published, presumably after the contents have been approved. I sincerely believe that the writing and publication of this biography was premature.
JOSEPH F, GRIMA