Metaxas writes history, not as an historian would, but like a high school student: first this happened, then that happened, and then this other thing. He has no overarching thesis to develop, no interpretation of Bonhoeffer or his life. When he does offer commentary, it is almost always a banal repeating of a direct quotation in slightly different words.
Bonhoeffer was an extraordinary person and not even the author's plodding narrative can hide this. But I regret that so many people will know Bonhoeffer only through this caricature of a biography.
The narration is fine, except for most of the German pronunciation, which again sounds like an American high school student, and not very close to how we actually pronounce German words.
It may take ten years or more before there is room in the publishing world for a new English language biography of Bonhoeffer, but I predict this one will quickly and rightly be forgotten once that happens.
Say something about yourself!
There is close to nothing about Bonhoeffer helping to rescue Jews in this book, which makes sense, since according to Yad Veshem, he did not save any Jews.
The book was much too long, and too full of long sermons and correspondence by Bonhoeffer. Since he was saying essentially the same things in his sermons and most of his letters, it became very repetitive and I started to feel like I was in a Sunday School class. It would have been a much better book had it been at least 1/3 shorter.
The narrator was superb.
I have had Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer moving up in my stack of books to read for just over a year and, well, I should have opened it much sooner. This book about a Lutheran pastor who becomes a part of the Nazi resistance may well affect readers on a number of levels. First, with some reservations, this is a well written biography. It is informative and the reader is engaged in every page. Next, the reader is drawn into theological reflection about the nature of faith and the Christian interpretation of that in particular. These sections will stimulate reflection on the part of readers of all faiths and those rejecting all faith. Finally, I was drawn emotionally into the life and thinking of Bonhoeffer particularly in chapters related to his involvement in the Nazi resistance and ultimate execution. If you don’t want your life and work challenged, pass this biography by. The reading of Malciolm Hilgartner is very good particularly she reading the passages in German..
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.
Eric Metaxas succeeds in bringing to life the overwhelmingly diabolical environment of Hitler's Germany, the unprepared and lax condition of the German Christian community, and the intensely public and pesonal stories of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, disciple of Christ.
To steal a phrase from C.S. Lewis, the pages (or in the case of this audiobook, the sections) of this book fairly rustle with the life contained therein. Metaxis accomplishes a grand slam: acedemic scholarship, literary quality, and masterful storytelling.
At the end of this book, I was compelled to say 'thank you' to a modern day saint and to grieve over the price paid by a father of the faith for the Kingdom of God.
Malcolm Hillgartner's narration of this book is superb.
I already have three of my friends hastily consuming this work so that we can share our common experience.
This book provides an inside look what it was like for Germans in WWII. I bought this book to learn but found it very entertaining as well.
This book does a good job of telling the story of an amazing man. The setting in Germany before, during, and after the rise of the Nazis gives a great sense of the foreboding during that time. (It begged the question of "What would I have done during the rise of the Nazis?" This is a question any person truly honest with oneself would ask.) I'm sure that I would not have acted in anyway similar to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Perhaps reading this book will make us more courageous if we ever face such a dilemma.
The story of Dietrich's Bonhoeffer's life as told in this biography is nothing less than extraordinary. I finished it about a month ago, and it is still profoundly resonating in me. Having the opportunity to dive into this work is like being mentored by one of the most passionate and gentle of pastors and an opportunity to walk along side a saint who has completely and radically sought to live a life in obedience to Christ. For me, it has been pivotal for my faith and discipline.
There are a LOT of details in this book, and I am not sure I would have got through it, if it wasn't an audio book because of them. But in listening, the details just enriched the story rather than burden it. Happy Listening!
I love books!
When I decided to purchase this book I knew it appeared to be intellectual and I knew it might seem long. I was right on both counts but it was still a good listen. It was intellectual and I would guess those more into theology than me would appreciate it more. I liked the idea of listening to a story of a German who saw the rise to power of Hitler and Nazism and stood up for the evil it was unlike most of his countrymen. In that it didn't disappoint. I've always been a bit of a WWII buff and seeing Germany evolve at that time from an inside perspective was the key to me. And, Bonhoeffer truly seemed like a holy man.
good book about a great man and a great life
metaxas tone is through and detailed and respectful
he does not attempt to undermine or exploit his subject
bonhoeffer's background was frighteningly aloof and academic
at many points in his youth he seemed to hold life at arm's length
the war and nazi politics stripped all of that away
he embraced the opportunity to confront evil head on
the assassination plots seems amateurish in retrospect
his disregard of american seminaries seems spot on
his embrace of the african-american church is perceptive
the book hinges on his decision to return to germany from NYC
he willingly faced almost certain death but saw no other choice
what does it mean to be a christian in the 20th century ?
no man ever answered that question better than bonhoeffer
"... i will not offer that which costs me nothing ..."