20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Bonhoeffer (Paperback)
I have been inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer's example since I first heard about this remarkable German pastor who consistently opposed the Third Reich and I have read other shorter biographies. So I was very pleased to get this book for Christmas, if a little daunted by its size - its nearly 600 pages, from cover to cover. But any misgivings I may have had about the size of the book were quickly swept away, as this is an engrossing account that really held my attention from start to finish. It's a very thorough account of Bonhoeffer, his times and his country: you get an insight into his thinking and his struggles and the very real difficulties faced by Christians who were patriotic Germans who felt the injustices of the settlement imposed on Germany after the First World War. But it was Bonhoeffer more than anyone who saw clearly what was at stake and so courageously stood up for what was right. As he put it in a letter to Reinhold Niebuhr in July 1939:
"Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice in security."
After reading the book, I also feel I understand the horrors of the Nazi regime as experienced by Germans themselves better than I did before - the book manages to be more than a simple biography, almost a commentary on the times. Its also a fascinating account of Bonhoeffer's own spiritual development and faith.
All in all, this is such a good read and such an important book. I cannot recommend it too highly.