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Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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—The Washington Post
“Metaxas knows how to tell a story and how to develop characters, and this talent makes his narrative at once gripping and accessible . . . an excellent glimpse of the whole of Luther’s life.”
—The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
“Mr. Metaxas has a knack for capturing the heart and mind of his subjects . . . his conclusions about the 16th-century revolutionary are uniquely Metaxas, a deep and thoughtful writer with much to teach the world.”
—The Washington Times
“A new magisterial biography . . . another epic work [from Eric Metaxas] . . . Extensively researched . . . A beautifully balanced separation of fact from fiction.”
“If you had to make a list of five people who shaped the modern West, Martin Luther would be on it. Yet almost everything you think you know about Luther is wrong, as Eric Metaxas shows in this brilliant biography. This is an amazing story, beautifully told. You’ll emerge wiser.”
—Tucker Carlson, host of Tucker Carlson Tonight
“When Martin Luther made it possible to read the Bible for yourself, he did more than anyone else to create the future. Read this book for yourself to understand the story we’re all still living through.”
—Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, entrepreneur, and author of Zero to One
“A marvelous, brilliant book that is equal parts biography, theology, political philosophy, and cultural history. With a light and rapid touch that nonetheless is capable of conveying deep truths and insights, Metaxas deftly blends these many elements into a narrative that reads as compellingly as a novel. I imagine that Luther himself—not an easy man to please—would be deeply impressed by this master portraiture.”
—Mark Helprin, bestselling author of Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War
“Brilliant . . . powerful . . . a must read.”
“A very, very good book.”
“Metaxas’s Martin Luther is a breathtaking achievement and a gripping read. Bold, fast-paced, and magisterial like its hero, yet always stylish and witty like its author, this account blows the cobwebs off long-settled expectations, and helps us to understand the man who shook the medieval world and helped to shape the modern world.”
—Os Guinness, author of Impossible People
“Eric Metaxas has blessed us with yet another indispensable biography. With his customary verve and elegance, profound reverence, and biting wit, Metaxas’s Martin Luther is an education in the meaning of man’s relation to God. It makes Luther’s life come alive and illuminates how deeply that life has affected our own.”
—Bret Lott, bestselling author of Jewel and nonfiction editor of Crazyhorse magazine
“As with his seminal work on Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas, in this extraordinary work on Martin Luther, reveals those nuances that made Luther the force that he was. As the details gather in the book, you soon feel the presence of the man himself.”
—Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder, lecturer and teacher at College of Jewish Studies Aish HaTorah’s Discovery Seminar
“This massive but eminently readable biography of Luther deserves no less an adjective than ‘formidable.’ Eric Metaxas is to religious biographers what Pixar is to cartoons.”
—Peter Kreeft, author of Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other?
“Extraordinary. A tour de force.”
—Johnnie Moore, Jr., founder of The Kairos Company
“If you wish to know why Martin Luther is remembered as one of the most consequential figures in history, and why Eric Metaxas has emerged as one of the most prominent storytellers of our generation, you’ll find the answers in this book. Eric’s skill as a writer and biographer are on full display here, even as he corrects the myths and secures the history of a monk who changed the world.”
—John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“One of the most engaging, inspiring, and entertaining books on Luther I've ever read. Every page a joy.”
—J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC
“Deeply researched and surprising.”
—Tampa Bay Times
“Metaxas is the best storyteller among the Luther biographers.”
“Outstanding . . . full of clever turns of phrase and humor that makes the incredible story of Luther all the more accessible.”
“A biography designed to peel back the myths and reveal Luther as the fascinating and influential man he was . . . A fast, easy read.”
—The Houston Chronicle
“Metaxas offers something different and special . . . the author’s fast-paced style and attention to interesting details sets this 450-page book apart.”
—Institute for Faith, Work & Economics
“Turns some centuries-long legends upside down.”
“A masterful portrait of a seminal figure.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“A meaty autobiography of the Reformation leader. Metaxas brings his flair for epic biography that was on such impressive display in his 2010 book, Bonhoeffer . . . Metaxas offers something different and special.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Highly readable, fast-paced . . . cheerful.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Viking; 1st Edition (October 3, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 496 pages
- ISBN-10 : 110198001X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1101980019
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #42,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Not to ruin the surprise, but key information literally "unearthed" in 2008. So yes, Metaxas adds new information to a well told 500 year old story, and it is really worth examining.
But here's the best part about Metaxas' biography -- he makes sure God gets the glory. So many details are known about Luther. It would be impossible for most to write this book, given all the information available. Metaxas pulls out the pieces of Luther's life that show how God was always part of the story. Beginning with his mom naming him Martin (and all the parallels with Saint Martin, who lived a millennium earlier). Luther was instrumental in the reformation, but he was not like "protesters" we know today. He could have been killed for his beliefs (like many before him and around him). He fully understood that. But he knew God is bigger. He clung to what was true, regardless of consequences. He listened to God, and he was brilliant, but he was not flawless in any sense. Metaxas gets that. God gets all the glory in this book.
And ihe book is shockingly funny -- at least to me. I literally LOL'd many times. The people around me asked, "what?" -- and it was never easy to explain. I heard that earnest but lighthearted Metaxas voice delivering several lines, and it struck me as very humorous. I now suspect Luther would've liked it that way. This is not a story that praises Martin Luther. It is much more. Soli Deo Gloria.
No, he didn’t come from a family of peasants. No, he didn’t have a hardscrabble upbringing. No, there was no literal bolt of lightning that led him to become a monk (although there was a thunderstorm involved). No, his trip to Rome did not convince him of the need for a reformation. No, he didn’t literally hurl a pot of ink at the devil. No, the nun who eventually became his wife didn’t escape the convent hidden in an empty herring barrel. And no, he most likely did not nail his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg on Oct. 31, 1517. That probably happened two weeks later. What he did do on Oct. 31 was to send a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz, and it was that letter that officially began the process we came to know as the Reformation.
Perhaps the most critical thing Metaxas tells us about Luther is that he was a passionate reader of the Bible – and he was in a tiny minority, because most people, nobles, priests, archbishops, cardinals, and popes did not read the Bible. And it was his understanding of Scripture that framed the Reformation. The church’s practice of selling indulgences (allowing people to pay for time off in purgatory, for themselves and departed family members) was the flashpoint, but it was Luther’s knowledge of Scripture that propelled what could only be called the most significant revolution in human understanding and development of the last 500 years. And perhaps longer.
The church had become comfortable with the teachings of Aristotle. Luther, who also knew his Augustine, saw the inherent contradictions the church had either missed or glossed over.
The church taught that only the priests could drink the wine in communion. Luther made the startling claim, based on the Bible, that all people were equal in God’s eyes, and all people should partake of both the bread and the wine. That shocking idea of the equality of all people would find political expression more than 250 years later in a document called the Declaration of Independence.
Luther articulated the ideas of each person being free, subject to none, and each person being a servant, subject to all. He understood that anyone could understand Scripture – it wasn’t only church officials who could read and interpret. And to that point, as he stayed hidden in the castle of Wartburg while church and state looked high and low for him, he translated the New Testament into German. He did it in 11 weeks, and it was such a good translation, Metaxas says, that it is still used as the basis for new German translations today.
Metaxas tells this story of Luther extraordinarily well; the man has a gift for storytelling. Never would I have imagined that I would become fascinated with the account of the theological debate between Luther and Johannes Eck at Leipzig in 1519, but I was – and that’s due entirely to how well the author tells the story.
Metaxas is the author of four New York Times bestsellers and the host of the Eric Metaxas radio show, broadcast daily to more than 120 cities. A Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Large for the King’s College in New York City, he is the author of numerous books, including “Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery” (2007); “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” (2011); “Miracles: What They Are, How They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” (2015); “7 Men and Their Secrets of Greatness” (2016); “7 Women and Their Secret of Greatness” (2016); and “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty” (2016).
“Martin Luther” is not only an outstanding biography. It is an incredible reminder of what one man accomplished, often in the face of great personal and professional peril. And it is a reminder that the Reformation was only something that happened 500 years ago, but something that is still happening, and needs to continue to happen, especially in our own hearts.