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" ?
Narrative makes the world go round.
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.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
I have read most of Bonhoffer's work and many, many biographies, and this stands as the best and most comprehensive. Metaxas does a wonderful job of placing Bonhoeffer in his times, showing the many sides of him usually left out or lightly sketched in other books about the great Christian martyr. In the end, the life of Bonhoeffer, so well rendered here, stands as a clarion call to all of us to rise up in our lives and live our faith all the way out. Metaxas' rendering of this great life is a must read.
I became interested in Dietrich Bonhoeffer after plowing through the William Shirer very detailed three-part history of the Nazis, from their quest for power through their rule of Germany ending with its defeat in 1945. The Shirer series provides a detailed account of the role of various Christian denominations with the rise of the Nazis. It's easy to be perplexed by the passive to active consent by many religious leaders to the Nazi genocide of Germans, Slavic Peoples and Jews alike. Eric Metaxes sets the stage for the story of Rev. Bonhoeffer in a chronological factual manner, allowing the reader to sense the tension of the age in the German and International ecclesiastical community as career religious opportunists distinguished themselves apart from men of authentic faith such as Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer's bravery as well as that of fellow co-conspirators to assassinate Hitler is thankfully not over-sold by Metaxes thus making an impression of Bonhoeffer life-lessons highly meaningful in an age of many pretenders to piety
The question that will continue to haunt humanity in the wake of the incomprehensible evil of Nazi Germany is “How could the churches see what was happening and do nothing to stop the horror?” In this intriguing biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we are given a clear and detailed response. With the use of an exhaustive collection of source materials (highlighted by Bonhoeffer’s letters, sermons, addresses, and prayers) we see how, year by year, an unholy emphasis on church politics, international alliances, and the emphasis on doctrine rather than faithfulness, helped to distract attention from the awful truth of what was happening right on the Church’s doorstep. Bonhoeffer’s life is a study in how an individual is called to live out his most deeply held beliefs.
Before reading this book, I had known that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian pastor who had been executed by the Gestapo very near the close of World War II. I had not known that he had taken an active part in the German resistance to Hitler (which culminated in the July 20, 1944 attempt on Hitler???s life). The German Resistance was led by group of appalled Germans of high military, government and social rank who had detailed information on the full extent of the Nazi atrocities committed against Jews and other minorities in Poland, Russia, and Germany itself. Bonhoeffer joined the Resistance through social connections, prompted by the information about the Nazi atrocities that he learned from his brother-in-law, a high official in German military intelligence (the ???Abwehr???).
For Bonhoeffer, a brilliant and highly dedicated Christian theologian and pastor, his participation in the Resistance was part of his Christian calling. In the face of the almost unfathomable evils of the Nazi Regime, he concluded it was not enough as a Christian merely to stand aside and refuse obedience to Nazi dogma. Rather, he was called to do whatever he could (and, in his circumstances, he could do a lot) to take down the Regime, including participation in a plan to assassinate Hitler.
The close of the book I found quite moving. Bonhoeffer was slated for execution by the Gestapo on Hitler???s direct order. His final hour was spent in prayer, knowing he was losing all chance for future happiness with his fianc?? and further time with his family, but in full anticipation of a new and blessed life with Christ in Heaven. I found myself moved to prayer as I listened to this account of his death.
Eric Metaxas has done a wonderful job introducing this man, Bonhoeffer, to a new audience. His style is unassuming that the reader may already know Bonhoeffer. Metaxas transports the reader to be a silent observer of Bonhoeffer's life as it unfolds. The narrators does a great job as well. I listen while running and it makes the time go by fast.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
I would not be truthful if I did not say this book has changed my life. Bonhoeffer was a Christian pastor who put his life on the line in standing up for Christ in the face of Nazi Germany as part of the resistance movement. Well, he paid for it with his life, as he was destroyed (physically) just days before the war was over. He was valiant and heroic. I can only hope I would be able to be so valiant in the same situation.
I learned so much about just exactly how Hitler was able to fool all of the people some of the time, enough of the time to come into power. I was almost overcome with disbelief as I learned things I had never even heard of before. And the really scary part is that in this land of liberty of ours, we have started down that same path. It takes my breath away.
This book did not dwell on the Nazi atrocities, but it did go into a little detail near the end of the book. At that point, I could not control my emotions, as I sobbed for the innocent people who were slain by these butchers, and prayed that the Lord in his tender mercies, had taken from them the sting of death. I have to believe that he did.
The question that I am left with: How is it we humans can treat one another in such an inhumane way? That is always the question. How do some people get the idea that they have the right to dictate to other people how they should be allowed to live their lives, or IF they should be allowed to live.
I am very interested in learning more about Hitler's rise to power, partly in the hope that perhaps something can be done to see that this sort of thing never happens here! I believe we are dangerously naive if we believe it never could.
I like American History, Politics (Conservative - Libertarian) Brad Thor and Glenn Beck.
This is a very detailed biography of Bonhoeffer, and a clear insight to past history of Germany that we should now be more mindful of in light of present national and world situations. Its flow is written well enough to keep your interest unless you are not interested in the dangers of the past. This is also inspiring to those caring enough to be informed and take a stand.
Eric Metaxas book on the life of Bonhoeffer is amazing! It's true. It's thorough. It's inspiring. Bonhoeffer was able to overcome Nazism, Liberalism, and Pietism. He embraced a Bartian theology that holds the Bible in highest regard. He believed (and lived) a faith that is IN this world but not OF it. I found myself thinking Bonhoeffer is my hero! A much needed reminder of someone who lived out an evangelical faith in the real world when the world around him didn't. Well Done Metaxas! I thank God for you!