Augustine Hippo

Brown, Peter.   Augustine of Hippo: A Biography.   Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1967, 2000.
Brown's account of Augustine's life is amazingly detailed and thorough. According to Brown there were events that allowed Augustine to write on a variety of subjects that were far more than just matters of abstract philosophy but were, instead, treatises on real events that influenced Augustine's own life and world.
            Brown begins by tracing Augustine's formative years, from his birth in northern Africa to his rise as a teacher and government official in Rome. Also, Brown explains how Augustine "secularied" the pagan past. He removed elements of paganism from being thought of as a "religion" and moved them to being thought of as part of "culture," part of human habits that were actually psychologically healthy.
  Brown borrows heavily from Augustine's own autobiographical masterpiece, The Confessions, as there is not a lot of other material or documentation on Augustine's early years. Brown relates the remarkable story of Augustine's own conversion and includes the significant influence his devout mother, Monica, had on him. While Augustine was still a Manichean, Monica fervently prayed for her son's conversion to the point her local bishop assured her that her son would convert before he died because Heaven could not deny such an impassioned plea from a mother!   Under the influence of Ambrose, another influential early church patriarch, Augustine did eventually convert. At the time of his conversion, Augustine was a highly regarded philosophy teacher and, immediately upon converting, poured his heart and soul into figuring out how reason and faith could coexist. Brown explains that, a short time after his conversion, Augustine retired from public life, hoping to spend his life immersed in the study of Scriptures and philosophy.
Augustine's seclusion from society would not last long, however, as the writings he produced during...