Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas, is one of the best biographies I’ve had the opportunity to read. I’ve been wanting to learn more about this Lutheran hero, so I was very excited when Thomas Nelson sent me a copy to review. It’s a pretty long book, (over 600 pages), which may seem intimidating, but it’s so well written and fascinating that you can easily forget you’re reading a biography.
I’m familiar with the story of Bonhoeffer’s bravery and sacrifice in World War II, so while I enjoyed reading about that, what I was really interested in, and what this book provided amazingly well, was the story of Bonhoeffer’s early years. What shaped him into the man he would become, a pastor involved in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Hitler?
I was surprised to find that when Bonhoeffer was growing up, he didn’t have the Christian upbringing I assumed he had. While his mother was a spiritual person, she didn’t think that attending corporate worship services was necessary, and his father wasn’t a believer at all. Bonhoeffer actually feared telling his family of his decision to go into the pastoral ministry, as it wasn’t an “approved” profession to them.
Of course, the more familiar part of Bonhoeffer’s story was also exciting, and went into more detail than I’d previously had the chance to read. It’s a tense, riveting tale, and really makes the reader think about what his or her own actions would be in the same situation.
This book made Bonhoeffer more real to me; helped me understand the decisions he made and the actions he took. I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in history, whether the world, military, church, or Lutheran varieties!