Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas

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Rate: 3/5


Medium: AudioBook


Overview (Spoilers): When I decided to read Bonhoeffer, little did I know it would answer a question I’d pondered from time to time, regarding the role or stance of the church in Germany leading up to and during World War II. Metaxas details every aspect of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life from his cheerful family-filled childhood to his ultimate execution by the Nazis, mere weeks before they surrendered to the Allies. Bonhoeffer was a highly educated, theologian that outspokenly opposed the Nazis much to his own peril. He had the foresight to grasp the larger picture of the Nazis evil and intentions far before many of his contemporaries. Early in the book, the multitude of minute of details grew to be a bit monotonous with regard to his incredibly happy childhood, however as he grew up the excessive detail truly seemed to capture a glimpse of Detrich’s demeanor and personality. The tragic ending with the failed assassination of Hitler during Valkyrie, resulted in the deaths of so many high ranking, good individuals, including Bonhoeffer who was a initial conspirator, despite having already spent over a year and a half in jail. Additionally, while reading this book I had the overwhelming feeling that I should have been keeping a diary since I was young. I hadn’t felt that way since reading Catherine the Great. One of the main reasons we know intricate details about these historical figures is the letters and more important, their personal writings. Not saying I’ll be historically important,  but a girl can dream. I don’t mind the thought of someone pouring over my writings decades or even centuries after my inevitable death. With that being said, in general we don’t write personal letters anymore, due to the advent of emails, which will be lost after the owner’s death as a result of passwords. Will we be a historically absent generation due to our lack of leaving behind tangible, physical breadcrumbs? Also, the love letters exchanged in this book were beyond beautiful. Pretty please can this practice come back into fashion? Overall, Bonhoeffer is a fascinating look into Nazi Germany from a German’s perspective. So often, it is easy to forget about the individuals in Germany that resisted Hitler’s rule. In Bonhoeffer a tale of trial, tribulation, and death is weaved regarding the choices the church made, as well as the Nazi’s manipulations during their rise to power.


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10 comments

  1. I enjoyed this book also for the look at how not all Germans were on board with the Nazi takeover. I read this in print a few years back. I am sure i would have completed it quicker if I had listened to the audiobook.

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    • It was a pretty long audiobook and some of the long sermons/hymns/letters would have been nice to be able to skim over. I usually listen to a book when I go running, however I had to switch to music with this book. It wasn’t as engaging as some of the other audiobooks I’ve read.

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  2. Ooh, I loved this book, mostly because I love Bonhoeffer! *confession* I also love it because it felt shorter than most biographies 😉

    If you liked Bonhoeffer’s ideas, you might enjoy his unfinished work, “Ethics.” I’ve read a few chapters, so far, and it’s really fabulous. (And dense. But really worth the effort!)

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    • I was actually wondering what had happened to his unfinished works! I will have to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion. He really seemed before his time. I loved how open minded he was to all religions and the benefits one might have over another and vice versa. Very progressive.

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      • Yes, very progressive! I wish he’d lived to write much more. He’s a really good thinker and model for churches of every religion–and he was a hero besides. Just a good person all around. Okay, enough eulogizing, hehe.

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  3. Good review of a book focused on a very brave man of principles. I agree with you about letter writing. There will be little for future generations to ponder concerning this generation. Also, the medium does impact the depth of writing. There are many poignant love letters and important political and philosophical documents written in longhand. I would never think of writing a love letter in email format, but maybe that is a generational thing. It just seems very transient and informal. Perhaps the view of a soldier going into war, etc. will still be passed on that way.

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