Bonhoeffer - pastor, theologian, martyr - if I were to describe this book in two words it would be `mammoth' and `captivating'.
The book itself is one of the best researched books on Bonhoeffer I have ever come across. It includes numerous quote sections from his letters, books, sermons and personal testimonies. It includes writings from other parties, who wrote about Bonhoeffer and a story narrative that never fails to draw the reader on. Despite the size of the book I cannot recall ever feeling like my interest began to wane whilst reading it.
Bonhoeffer came from an aristocratic and noticeably scientific German family. At a young age he decided to defy tradition and become a theologian. His most noticeable writings are: Life Together, Cost of Discipleship and Ethics (all of which of fantastic). Together these books are his opus maximus (great life's work). Every theologian has heard of Bonhoeffer and studied his writings at some point or another. The depth of his writings are awe inspiring and thoroughly thought provoking.
What is probably less known about Bonhoeffer is his role in Nazi Germany, or the fact that because of this there is today a statue of him on the side of Westminster Abbey. At an early point in the history of Nazi Germany Bonhoeffer decided that the regime was evil. Originally he preached against it, but after Hitler experienced numerous military successes, he resigned himself to bringing down the beast from within. To this end he joined the Abwehr and began smuggling Jews out of Germany. Because of the interplay between the Gestapo and the Abwehr Bonhoeffer was eventually arrested and detained for 18 months at Tegal Prison.
After the failed Valkyrie attempt, of which Bonhoeffer was later linked to, he was detained by the Gestapo for 4 months of torture and integration. He was eventually transferred to 3 different concentration camps and hung 3 weeks before Hitler took his own life in 1945. Throughout all of his he never failed to act out in accordance with his faith, and whilst in a difficult predicament, continued to effect and influence the lives of those he touched right up until the end of his life. The saddest part of his story is that it was not even the Germans who notified his family of his demise but rather the BBC radio some months after the end of the war.
The usual memos of my reviews are long and fully explanatory:- but in this instance what is there for me to say? The book was excellently written! The subject written about thoroughly affected me! Bonhoeffer's experiences played on my thoughts and despite the mammoth size of the book I kept reading this book until the early hours of numerous mornings. I have also come to the conclusion that I could not have done what Bonhoeffer did and for this reason he deserves Saint status. In total I cannot recommend this book enough!
I read numerous books written by Bonhoeffer whilst I studied my Masters in Theology - however, I'd like to personally thank Eric Metaxas for writing such a well written and thoroughly researched book about this individual. I fell like in a way you have allowed me to meet the individual on a personal level rather than on a purely theological level. Also, modern authors are frequently inclined to down play Bonhoeffer's religious side and talk about his faith as if it were an oddity to be shy of. Your book highlights how seriously Bonhoeffer took his faith and how everything he did was because of it. For this I would sincerely like to thank you.
In the end your book as become the best Biography I have ever read! Thank you for writing it.