Bonhoeffer is one of the most interesting people from a period filled with interesting people. This biography takes pains not only to describe events, but also to explain the difficult, even obtuse theology of a man who viewed lying as a Christian mandate. How he came to this position is really what the book is about. At the end of the book you'll understand, even if you don't agree.
Wow, I really wish I would have listened/read this earlier. Powerful and thought provoking. I can't recommend this enough. A reminder of the evil of Hitler and the power of faith and action even in the darkest of times.
We don't often hear the stories of Germans who opposed the Nazis, and this book describes the heroic and often tragic efforts by those Germans who DID see the evils Hitler was bringing in, and tried desperately to stop him. Lessons and people very worthy of remembering.
Having grown up mostly hearing the history of WWII from the English perspective, I'm only recently learning more details of the brave Germans who tried from within to resist and overthrow the Nazis.
During the war Churchill deliberately chose to ignore their efforts and paint all Germans as evil Nazis for propaganda reasons, and to some extent that's the image that prevails to this day. But there were Germans horrified by what was happening, there were several assassination attempts from within, and many good people and their families were tortured and executed in retaliation when these failed. The Bonhoeffer family was one of those heavily involved in the resistance, and the youngest son Dietrich was especially prescient about the evils to come. Through this biography of Dietrich the author paints a picture of the situation in Germany for those horrified by Hitler's actions, and lays out the failures and frustrations of the resistance.
Bonhoeffer was a pastor and theologian so this biography is fairly heavy on the aspects of his faith, but not in a way that detracts from the story. Whether you share Bonhoeffer's faith or not, his dedication to it is clearly admirable and his faith led him very clearly to see before most how wrong the Nazis were and how much worse it would get if not stopped. He worked tirelessly to get German Christians to denounce the Nazi version of "Christianity", spread the word of what was really happening through his church contacts in England, and supported the plot to kill Hitler. He was clearly a remarkable thinker and man of faith, and through his writings and letters this biography reveals both the man himself and the circumstances and tragedies of his life.
teacher, mother, wife, friend
This is a deep dive into the church/intellectual history of the time between the wars. It combines one man's ethical and religious introspection with the mirror of the political blooming of the evils of Naziism. He is challenged at every turn. This is a picture of what it was like for one individual to face an authoritarian regime. It is an amazing and riveting story.
It is a story of one man, really. He is a religious leader during a time when so many people were compromised, confused and intimidated. He stayed true and paid the ultimate price.
When he is imprisoned, he makes his peace with death, and knows that he has not compromised himself, and so he accepts that he has served God. He is able to live in peace and accept his fate. It is tragic that he was executed just before the liberation.
I watched a Spanish mini-series called: A Time Between, just after reading this, which occurs during the same timeframe in Morocco and Madrid. It is about resistance to the Nazis in that context. It was a good companion film for this book.
Also, the politics in the world today of fear of immigrants and hate mongering reverberates for me. We need to educate ourselves about what can happen when we allow the politics of hatred to overwhelm the rule of law and basic human compassion and love.
A life-and-death battle of good versus evil -- how can it be boring? And yet it is.
Metaxas's narrative is jumbled and disjointed. It's hard to follow the overall story because he keeps jumping around and introducing details that are irrelevant to the matter at hand.
Hilgartner's bumbling narration does not help. Hilgartner is a typical Audible.com narrator: He has a fantastic radio voice and nice diction for individual words, but almost no sense of story. The narrator's mind appears to have wandered off. He reads each sentence like it is a pronunciation exercise. Hilgartner is a talented reader of words and sentences, but shows little interest in reading paragraphs or chapters. He tries to make each individual sentence sound dramatic, but that's not how prose works, neither in fiction nor in non-fiction. When every sentence is read with an elevated sense of drama, then all the sentences sound the same, and the reader's emotional pitches lose their force. The reading becomes dull.
Bonhoeffer's story should be fascinating and captivating and inspiring. But each time I listen to this audiobook, my mind wanders off. I really want to learn about this guy Bonhoeffer, but this audiobook is a slog.
haunter of libraries
Good narration, inspiring person. The fact that he had a such a good attitude makes most of us look pretty petty.