In the charnel house that was Europe in the Second World War, there were few instances of shining moral courage, let alone secular sainthood. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and Nazi resister, was the exception. This emblematic figure risked his life, and finally lost it, through his participation in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler and topple his regime. Saints and Villains gives us this exemplary life in a sweeping narrative that is bold in conception and utterly convincing in its power of imaginative reconstruction. Here is Bonhoeffer experiencing the awakening of his social conscience while witnessing racism in the United States during his studies at Union Theological Seminary; leading a breakaway church in Germany as the Nazis rise to power; entering a dangerous liaison with a Jewish woman; undertaking perilous clandestine meetings abroad under cover of official church and intelligence business; and living the dark night of the soul in prison after the plotters fail in their assassination attempt. Saints and Villains is a gripping and resonant novel that confronts the painful dilemmas that beset righteous men in times of great evil, when sin and necessity seem entwined. It is historical fiction of a very high order and of startling pertinence to our time.More
"[A] panoramic story...This novelized version of the pastor's life by Giardina manages the extremely difficult task of giving a known story genuine tension and spiritual resonance." (Publishers Weekly)
"A splendid novel about a splendid man." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
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a story most relevant today
- Connie "trying to see the world through my ears"