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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by…

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Eric Metaxas

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1,598554,549 (4.29)35
Title:Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Authors:Eric Metaxas
Info:Thomas Nelson (2011), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:persecuted church, Nazi Germany

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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (2010)


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I cannot sing this books praises highly enough. It is a detailed and comprehensive account of the life of a man with a brilliant mind and inspiring spirit. In no way did I mind the details that were shared, for every part of Bonhoeffer's life was fascinating for the thoughtful and intentional way that he lived it. As someone who is fascinated with history I also found the background information about what was going on behind the scenes during the World War II era in Germany fascinating. This time period is one that so much is written about, but these new details gave me new understanding of how it affected the German people and their families. There were many moral dilemmas that Bonhoeffer tackled, such as the role of the church and the state, whether or not it is morally correct to lie in certain circumstances, and--of course--the rightness of being involved in a plot to assassinate the leader of a country. I couldn't always follow (or agree with) all of the reasoning that was shared, however there is no doubt that Bonhoeffer had a brilliant mind and that his life was cut short far too soon. The relationships he shared with family and friends, and his fiance were also fascinating aspects of the story, and not only added emotional impact but also suspense. ( )
  debs4jc | Nov 12, 2015 |
I cannot add much to what has been said on the large number of prior reviews. I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of Bonhoeffer's life but despite this I was absolutely fascinated with this biography. The background of his childhood and family history was important and enlightening. While I tend to rate books high (lots of 4 or 5 stars) I think that is because I read books that are usually very good. This book is not only one that I not only read, but bought copies for both my parents and my in-laws. I can remember feeling so strongly about a book that I would do that. This is that type of book. ( )
  vanjr | Oct 4, 2015 |
I have previously imagined that the churches in Germany were passive in the face of rising Nazism and Hitler in the 1930s. Although I had heard of Bonhoeffer before, I know little about him. This book makes it clear that what I previously thought was true on two counts. The mainstream Lutheran church actually strongly supported Nazism, whilst a large group split off to provide opposition. And in the background many people of faith were active in conspiring to get rid of the dictator. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of them.
This is a long book about the life of Bonhoeffer. A great read which includes excepts from many letters written by and to Bonhoeffer. It covers the early years of his life in a privileged family, his coming to faith, his education, and his travels overseas. Then as nationalism and Nazism he is one who makes early and public comments on the potential dangers. This continues into an active life of making a stand, and eventually imprisonment.
[more comments to be added on controversy]

One minor comment: I read this as an eBook. This book once again demonstrates the problems that eBooks have with handling footnotes. ( )
  robeik | Apr 26, 2015 |
I liked the book but it was very long and sometimes slow. It was interesting to hear most of the elements of the movie Valkyrie interlaced in with Bonhoeffer's story (especially his time in the resistance).

I didn't like that the author used this biography as a type of Christian propaganda; only discussing the Christians who were involved with the resistance and trying to paint the Nazi Party as atheist (or at least as un-Christian pagans). That is historically dishonest and was unnecessary to the story.

The author went out of his way to paint Bonhoeffer in the best of lights and that, too, is historically dishonest. All in all, I enjoyed the story and learned a lot more about Dietrich Bonhoeffer than I had ever cared to. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Brilliantly researched and written story of a man I never heard of before. And not just him but his family and fellow agents/friends who tried to rewrite history. I learned a lot about Hitler, Germany and WWII that I didn't know. A book worth reading even though with 600+ pages and the heaviness of the subject matter it is a slow read. ( )
  bogopea | Apr 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
In this fine biography, Metaxas stays close to the story and refrains from any efforts at theory. All the more reason to read it: when it comes to the strengths and the limits of post-Kantian liberalism, we already have theory aplenty. But be careful what you read it for....
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His soul really shone in the dark desperation of our prison . . . [Bonhoeffer] had always been afraid that he would not be strong enough to stand such a test but now he knew there was nothing in life of which one need ever be afraid.

(Above is Payne Best's quotation, and below are Bonhoeffer's.) 

No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward to being released from bodily existence.  

Whether we are young or old makes no difference.  What are twenty or thirty or fifty years in the sight of God?  And which of us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal?  . . . Why are we so afraid when we think about death? . . . Death is only dreadful for those who live in dread and fear of it.  Death is not wild and terrible, if only we can be still and hold fast to God's Word.  . . . .

Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith.  But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.
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"Bonhoeffer" presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.

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