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I had never heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer until I listened recently to a Podcast of "Understanding the Times" The Author Eric Metaxas was discussing his new book. The book was an amazing biography of a very special man who lived in Germany during the early part pf the 20th Century. He saw the 1st World War, The Depression, the Wiemar Republic fall and Hitler National Socialist Party take control of Germany.
The author skillfully weavers Dietrich life into the events of the times in a way that makes you feel like you are truly living there. The depth of Dietrich writings are moving and very rich in spiritual and human feeling. He was a theologian who was not able to keep his faith in the seminary but was moved by an invisible hand to live his life in full view. This deep spiritual passion for the truth that he lived out, caused Dietrich to come to a clear theological reason why he was involved in Hitlers assassination. Which was what caused his eventual martyrdom at the hand of the SS.
One really troubling fact that I saw while listening to this book was the similarities to many of the events leading up to Hitlers power and how the world is today. The worldwide church must not make the same mistake that the German Church made or we are bound to repeat history.
I have now purchased Dietrich other book "Discipleship" which he wrote during the war as I am keen to immerse myself into this rich Christ centered life that was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
PS: The only reason why I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I felt the author went into a little to much detail about places, locations and personal meetings that did not add to the richness of the Biography.
PSS: "The Cross and the Swastika" Is another book that puts a profound prologue to the end of the war and answers the question, "Did any key Nazi repent" ?
48 of 49 people found this review helpful
This is a great listen for the social history detail of the period and also for following the development of a courageous man's thinking about moral issues: To arrive at nonviolence as a personal philosphy, and yet face circumstances where involvement in a violent plot is the "last resort" solution to a desperate situation becomes a moral choice! For me, Bonhoeffer is the great the icon of the 20th century, with all its moral dilemmas, and this bio does him justice. It also helps in understanding how otherwise good people -- so many of Bonhoeffer's fellow citizens -- slide into and rationalize immoral choices.
I hesistated to download this because I had found Metaxas' Amazing Grace to be a bit rambling and the tone a bit odd, but Bonhoeffer is both a stronger bio and is better narrated.
I'm an adult high school history teacher, and I am always amazed that most students (even those who know great detail of WWII battles etc.) have NEVER heard of Bonhoeffer. I hope this book and the deserved publicity it is getting change that. Nevermind Valhalla - Bonhoeffer's story deserves a Hollywood film all its own.
56 of 58 people found this review helpful
Having never considered the possibility of Christianity existing in the country which produced the Nazi regime and Hitler, I was totally amazed at this magnificent biography. I was humbled to hear the grief expressed by a German Christian at the horror of Auschwitz, and the virtual annihilation (or attempted), of Jews, Gypsies, disabled people, and many another minority groups. I had, to my disgust, assumed that all Germans were similar to Hitler, in their thoughts, beliefs, and general demeanour. How wrong I was! I suppose because I come from a generation whose parents were affected by the second world war – their parents either fighting against 'the Germans' physically, or widowed because of the war. Because of never studying history from an unbiased perspective, I am ignorant. I am very much aware of the difference between those of Nazi-mentality, many of whom exist today, and those German Christians, many I'm sure exist to this day. I'm very grateful for having my eyes opened. One should never ASSUME anything! Praise the Lord!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This biography has come under various degrees of criticism from scholars who accuse Metaxas of hijacking Bonhoeffer for the evangelical cause. They no doubt have a point, but then every side has wanted to claim this remarkable, courageous, ambiguous man as their own. As a card-carrying evangelical I tried to listen with discernment, but nevertheless emerged with a deep sense of gratitude for the life of such an astonishing and inspirational individual. Metaxas is a superb writer, and I found the narration to be excellent. Whatever quibbles one might have about how the author interprets some of the details of Bonhoeffers life and theology, only the hardest heart will fail to be moved by this wonderfully told account.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Comprehensive and at times deeply moving, this story is also very informative - about how a cultured country can descend into evil. Could have been written equally as well with half the words.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What initially appeared to be macabre in nature was in fact altogether inspiring in my personal walk with God. The sincerity and passion with which Bonhoeffer served God until even the day of his death makes for a worthy listen.