Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
Excellent biography about a truly great man...
on August 21, 2013
I had heard of Bonhoeffer prior to reading this book, and I had some basic knowledge of his theological beliefs and of the fact that he had participated in a plot to assassinate Hitler. I thought that was probably all I needed to know about the man, so I was hesitant when a former college professor (an old friend of many years) recommended this biography as a must-read. I probably would not have read it but for that recommendation, but I'm definitely glad I did: There is much more to Bonhoeffer than I had previously suspected, and the details of his life and theology are well worth exploring.
Metaxas does an excellent job detailing the Bonhoeffer family history (and the family's legacy). The explanation of Bonhoeffer's theology and its evolution over the course of Bonhoeffer's life is thorough and substantive, but not so complex that one needs a philosophy/theology/seminary degree to comprehend it. Metaxas frequently offers insightful analysis regarding how Bonhoeffer's theology affected Bonhoeffer's life and the choices Bonhoeffer made. Over all, the biography is very well written and thorough.
Fair warning to less-academically-inclined readers: The book is 622 pages because of the depth and detail with which Metaxas biographizes Bonhoeffer's life. The book drags on in some chapters to the point of putting one to sleep. If you are not interested in this depth of detail, consider reading Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness (also by Eric Metaxas), which explores the most important aspects of Bonhoeffer's life and theology (as well as the lives and philosophies/theologies of 6 other great historical icons); if you want to know more about Bonhoeffer after reading that book (and you very well may), you can always come back to this biography.
Update: As of 8/24/13, the Kindle version of this book is on sale for $1.99. At that price, everyone should buy it! Particularly if you spend a long time in transit, try the Whispersync for Voice with the Audible version of this book. Also, the ability to Whispersync to the same page you're reading to have a difficult-to-pronounce name or German-language passage narrated is pretty cool.