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Bonhoeffer: A Biography [Kindle Edition]

Eric Metaxas , Timothy J. Keller
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,536 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.99
Kindle Price: $12.66
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Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing

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Book Description

WHO BETTER TO FACE THE GREATEST EVIL OF THE 20TH CENTURY THAN A HUMBLE MAN OF FAITH?

As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a pastor and author, known as much for such spiritual classics as The cost of Discipleship and Life Together, as for his 1945 execution in a concentration camp for his part in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

In the first major biography of Bonhoeffer in forty years, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer's life?the theologian and the spy?to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. In a deeply moving narrative, Metaxas uses previously unavailable documents?including personal letters, detailed journal entries, and firsthand personal accounts?to reveal dimensions of Bonhoeffer's life and theology never before seen.

In Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy?A Righteous Gentiel vs the Third Reich, Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer's heart-wrenching 1939 decision to leave the safe haven of America for Hitler's Germany, and using extended excerpts from love letters and coded messages written to and from Bonhoeffer's Cell 92, Metaxas tells for the first time the full story of Bonhoeffer's passionate and tragic romance.

Readers will discover fresh insights and revelations about his life-changing months at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and about his radical position on why Christians are obliged to stand up for the Jews. Metaxas also sheds new light on Bonhoeffer's reaction to Kristallnacht, his involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in "Operation 7," the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland.

Bonhoeffer gives witness to one man's extraordinary faith and to the tortured fate of the nation he sought to deliver from the curse of Nazism. It brings the reader face to face with a man determined to do the will of God radically, courageously, and joyfully?even to the point of death. Bonhoeffer is the story of a life framed by a passion for truth and a commitment to justice on behalf of those who face implacable evil.


"Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history and theology." ?Publishers Weekly

"[A] massive and masterful new biography." ?Christianity Today

"Metaxas tells Bonhoeffer's story with passion and theological sophistication." ?Wall Street Journal

"Metaxas magnificently captures the life of theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer . . . A definitive Bonhoeffer biography for the 21st Century." ?Kirkus



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this weighty, riveting analysis of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas (Amazing Grace) offers a comprehensive review of one of history's darkest eras, along with a fascinating exploration of the familial, cultural and religious influences that formed one of the world's greatest contemporary theologians. A passionate narrative voice combines with meticulous research to unpack the confluence of circumstances and personalities that led Germany from the defeat of WWI to the atrocities of WWII. Abundant source documentation (sermons, letters, journal entries, lectures, the Barman Declaration) brings to life the personalities and experiences that shaped Bonhoeffer: his highly intellectual, musical family; theologically liberal professors, pastoral colleagues and students; his extensive study, work, and travel abroad. Tracing Bonhoeffer's developing call to be a Jeremiah-like prophet in his own time and a growing understanding that the church was called "to speak for those who could not speak," Metaxas details Bonhoeffer's role in religious resistance to Nazism, and provides a compelling account of the faith journey that eventually involved the Lutheran pastor in unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler. Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history and theology.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

''In Hitler's Germany, a Lutheran pastor chooses resistance and pays with his life. . . Eric Metaxas tells Bonhoeffer's story with passion and theological sophistication, often challenging revisionist accounts that make Bonhoeffer out to be a 'humanist' or ethicist for whom religious doctrine was easily disposable. . . Metaxas reminds us that there are forms of religion -- respectable, domesticated, timid -- that may end up doing the devil's work for him. --Wall Street Journal

''In this weighty, riveting analysis of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas offers a comprehensive review of one of history's darkest eras, along with a fascinating exploration of the familial, cultural, and religious influences that formed one of the world's greatest contemporary theologians. A passionate narrative voice combines with meticulous research. . . Abundant source documentation brings to life the personalities and experiences that shaped Bonhoeffer . . . Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history, and theology.'' --Publishers Weekly

''A welcome new biography of one of the twentieth century's leading lights. Metaxas magnificently captures the life of theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), who 'thought it the plain duty of the Christian-and the privilege and honor-to suffer with those who suffered.' In the finest treatment of the man since Eberhard Bethge's Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Man of Vision, Man of Courage (1970), Metaxas presents a complete, accessible picture of this important figure, whose story is inspiring, instructive, and international in scope. . . Metaxas rightly focuses on his subject's life, not his theology, though readers will learn plenty about his theology as well. The author makes liberal use of primary sources, which bring Bonhoeffer and other characters to vivid life. For the most part, Metaxas allows this epic story to play itself out, unhindered by commentary; where he does add his own voice, the conclusions are sage. A definitive Bonhoeffer biography for the twenty-first century.'' --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

''In this weighty, riveting analysis of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas offers a comprehensive review of one of history's darkest eras, along with a fascinating exploration of the familial, cultural, and religious influences that formed one of the world's greatest contemporary theologians. A passionate narrative voice combines with meticulous research. . . Abundant source documentation brings to life the personalities and experiences that shaped Bonhoeffer…Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history, and theology.'' --Publishers Weekly

''A welcome new biography of one of the twentieth century's leading lights. Metaxas magnificently captures the life of theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), who 'thought it the plain duty of the Christian-and the privilege and honor-to suffer with those who suffered.' In the finest treatment of the man since Eberhard Bethge's Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Man of Vision, Man of Courage (1970), Metaxas presents a complete, accessible picture of this important figure, whose story is inspiring, instructive, and international in scope. . . Metaxas rightly focuses on his subject's life, not his theology, though readers will learn plenty about his theology as well. The author makes liberal use of primary sources, which bring Bonhoeffer and other characters to vivid life. For the most part, Metaxas allows this epic story to play itself out, unhindered by commentary; where he does add his own voice, the conclusions are sage. A definitive Bonhoeffer biography for the twenty-first century.'' --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Product Details

  • File Size: 2161 KB
  • Print Length: 625 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1595551387
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GY0K48
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,740 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
925 of 950 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography April 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover
On the morning of April 9, 1945, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed at Flossenburg concentration camp. The camp doctor, H. Fischer-Hullstrung, later remembered:

[Just before the execution] "I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer kneeling on the floor, praying fervently to God...so certain that God heard his prayer...I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God."

Others testified that, up to his last day, the 39 year old Bonhoeffer remained cheerful. He knew what he had to do, was reconciled to God's will, and was able to climb the steps to the gallows "brave and composed."

Who was this man who died so bravely--who Hitler himself, from his bunker beneath Berlin just three weeks before his suicide, ordered to be "destroyed?" He's the subject of best-selling author Eric Metaxas's new biography, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy."

Shortly after his conversion in 1988, Metaxas read Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship and learned the story of the young man who, "because of his Christian faith stood up to the Nazis and ultimately gave his life." From then on, he was determined to tell the story to others. And tell it he has.

Metaxas takes readers, in 592 pages, through Bonhoeffer's entire life, from his parent's courtship to his memorial service. No corner of the subject's life is left unexplored. Through the author's use of Bonhoeffer's personal letters to family and friends, earlier biographies, interviews with those who knew Bonhoeffer, and other thorough research, readers get a comprehensive and balanced look into one of recent history's greatest theologians.

Appropriately, Metaxas emphasizes Bonhoeffer's theology and how it played out in his life.
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177 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book - It will not disappoint! April 15, 2010
By S. Ward
Format:Hardcover
I first learned of the impending publication of Eric Metaxas' book Bonhoeffer in 2009. Having read his stellar biography of William Wilberforce (Amazing Grace) in 2007, I knew I'd certainly enjoy this one. The wait did not disappoint.
Mr. Metaxas once again combines his wit and intelligence to recreate the life of one of God's servants, this time Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Not knowing much about Bonhoeffer before cracking open the book, I immediately felt drawn to him through Mr. Metaxas' writing, intimate and personal without being hokey or homespun. Bonhoeffer's story is one that is translatable to any time, any country, any person who feels called to stand for uncompromised righteousness. The narrative of Bonhoeffer's life is completed with sparkling commentary on politics in early twentieth century Germany. Metaxas clearly devoted untold hours researching the life of Bonhoeffer. One little known story - that of Bonhoeffer's relationship with his fiancee Maria - is told in full.
Brilliantly combined in the narrative are excerpts from Bonhoeffer's personal letters to friends and family. Metaxas uses these letters to vividly outline the essence of Bonheoffer - in his own words. One sees his devotion to family and the importance his played in his life, his fervent devotion to the Bible as the accurate and complete Word of God, and his unwavering faith and obedience in spite of the call to suffer and, ultimately, die for the cause of Christ.
Learning about Bonhoeffer's life has only made me curious to read his work. I have a feeling I'll soon be devouring every book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer I can find. And I'm waiting patiently for Eric Metaxas' next biography. He's sure to not disappoint.
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Biography of a Courageous Pastor May 14, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote those words in The Cost of Discipleship, which was first published in 1937. Eight years later, on April 9, 1945, he answered Christ's bidding and was executed by the Nazis at the Flossenburg concentration camp for conspiring to assassinate Adolf Hitler the previous year. Bonhoeffer's last words, appropriate to a Christian facing death, were hopeful. "This is the end...For me the beginning of life."

In Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas sets out to narrate Bonhoeffer's life for a new generation of Christians, who are unacquainted with the 1967 biography written by Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer's closest friend. Metaxas is the author of Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery (2007), which was subsequently turned into a movie. His biography of Bonhoeffer is well written, well paced, and very insightful, especially regarding the theological, spiritual, and ethical evolution Bonhoeffer experienced in his conflict with the Nazis, which consumed the latter third of his short life.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of eight children born to Karl and Paula Bonhoeffer, and the youngest of five boys. He was the scion of illustrious families on both his paternal and maternal sides. His father Karl's ancestors included prominent politicians and scientists. Karl himself was chair of the department of psychology at the University of Berlin--in effect, the leading psychologist of Germany. His mother Paula's family included military leaders and theologians, including her grandfather, the prominent liberal church historian Karl August von Hase, and her father Karl Alfred, the erstwhile chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm II.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Too bad they didn't have a suicide bomber in the Wolf's ...
Accurate book giving the inside details of the futile attempts to rub out the Fuehrer and restore sanity to the Reich. Read more
Published 16 hours ago by Myron D. Brockman
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing, so detailed.
This is the most amazing biography. Yes, it is very long but it is very detailed and in-depth. I felt as if I knew Bonhoeffer so well that he could practically be a friend of mine. Read more
Published 3 days ago by mnstlgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Every serious Christian should read.
An important new insight into Bonhoeffer. A book every serious Christian should read.
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
You owe it to yourself to read this excellent book.
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Heavy stuff
Published 7 days ago by billy boy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written. I want to read more about ...
Very well written. I want to read more about Bonhoeffer.
Published 7 days ago by Sharon Burton
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope for humanity
Isn't it encouraging to learn of people like Bonhoeffer in this age of seemingly self-centered, gutless public figures?
Published 7 days ago by Audilover
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great accounting of not only Bonhoeffer's life but also the causes and process of WWII
Published 9 days ago by J. C. Andy
5.0 out of 5 stars It reads more like a novel than a history book
This book so eloquently brought me back in time, and helped me understand so much of what took place in Germany, leading up to and, during WWII. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Suez
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
excellent look at the life and times of a complicated man in a terrible time
Published 11 days ago by Paws-sitive
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More About the Author

Eric Metaxas is the New York Times bestselling author of Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. His writing was first published in Atlantic Monthly, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Regeneration Quarterly, Christianity Today, National Review Online, Beliefnet and First Things. The American Booksellers Association chose Metaxas's The Birthday ABC as a 1995 Pick of the List and Amazon.com honored his Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving with their Number One Bestseller Award for Thanksgiving 1999. He has been featured numerous times on CNN, The Fox News Channel and other television networks, and has been a guest on NPR. He is the founder and host of Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life, a monthly event of entertaining and thought provoking discussions that feature such speakers as Sir John Polkinghorne, Dr. Armand Nicholi, Os Guinness, Lauren F. Winner and Peter Kreeft. Metaxas serves on the vestry of Calvary/St. George's Episcopal Church, and lives in Manhattan, New York, with his wife and daughter.

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