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Fyodor Dostoevsky (Christian Encounters Series)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Artfully written and cleverly constructed, this biography in the Christian Encounters Series gives readers a compelling look at the world-famous writer and the social, political, and scientific forces that set the stage for his literary greatness. Dostoevsky walked toward?the firing squad in Semenovsky Square in the heart of St. Petersburg, Russia. Newly fallen snow blew w ...more
Paperback, 193 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Thomas Nelson
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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James
Nov 02, 2011 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, history
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for the review copy of Peter Leithart's Fyodor Dostoevsky. Below is my fair and honest review:

I was interested in this book for three reasons:

1. Dostoevsky is one of the best and most profound novelists whoever lived. Crime and Punishment is incisive in its critique of 19th century European philosophy and insightful on the complexity of the human heart, illuminating both its darkness and its goodness. is a classic of Western literature. But what about the man? Before r
...more
Theron Mathis
Oct 19, 2011 Theron Mathis rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Dostoevsky for some time having read the Idiot, Demons, Crime & Punishment, and the Brothers Karamazov; but outside of brief snippets of his life I knew little about the man.

So I was full of anticipation when I fell upon a new biography of Dostoevsky by Dr. Peter Leithart. Dr. Leithart is a pastor and professor of theology and literature in Idaho, and does a wonderful job in this short summary of the life of one's of the world's greatest novelists.

The book is written i
...more
Robert Stump
Feb 09, 2012 Robert Stump rated it really liked it
Homo Homini Lupsu
http://manisawolftomen.blogspot.com/

Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart is a biography unlike any I had read before; hardly unique, I would imagine someone else has done the same for other giants, but none that I have read. Dostoevsky's life is retold in many of his own words but by way of a fictionalized account wherein he and friend Maikov reminisce while his wife Anna sews in the background, interrupts him, corrects his memory, and brings tea. Dostoevsky relives his life in v
...more
Dan Glover
Jan 15, 2013 Dan Glover rated it really liked it
I have to admit that when I first started into this biography of Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart, I wasn’t all that impressed by the format. Rather than a traditional biography, where biographer looks into the subject’s life from the position of a time-removed, omniscient, supposedly objective third party, this was done as a long running conversation between the great writer and a friend. In it, Leithart has Dostoevsky recounting his life, his work, his relationships, his opinions on literature, re ...more
Frank Peters
Dec 23, 2011 Frank Peters rated it liked it
The book is part of the Christian Encounter Series that highlights the lives of various Christians through history using an unusual form of biography. This volume is on Fyodor Dostoevsky and was written by Peter Leithart. But first, who was Fyodor Dostoevsky, and why might I be interested? He is one of Russia’s most famous writers, and through his writing continuously pointed to Jesus as the answer to the problems in society. I was initially introduced to Dostoevsky through the writings of Phili ...more
Brenten Gilbert
I’ve read a few of the biographies from this collection now and every time, I’m surprised by how different they each are. Given, I’m including books from The Generals series as part of this overarching series, but still these are definitely not formulaic biographies. Each edition is well-researched and approached from a unique standpoint, making them very engaging to read. Which brings me to Fyodor Dostoevsky.

I’ve been meaning to read some of Dostoevsky’s work for years now, but for one reason o
...more
Holly
Jan 26, 2012 Holly rated it liked it
Shelves: books-2012, reviews
Regardless of whether you are interested in reading about Fyodor Dostoevsky or not, you'll probably find this book interesting if you are into history. This biography is depicted a bit different than most though. Instead of narrating about the life of Dostoevsky, the author has decided to take a different approach, and tell the story through the person he is writing about eyes. This isn't the ideal way to tell about his life for all, but I thought it was suitable for me since I'm more a person ...more
Mark Nenadov
For many of us, discovering the towering Fyodor Dostoevsky is a major life-event. In this book Peter Leithart gently leads the reader through dialogs
that illuminate Dostoevsky's life. One might say it is fictional, but the portrait built in these pages is certainly not fictional.

Being a fan of Dostoevsky's work and having enjoyed a number of Peter Leithart's writings, I've come to this book with a good deal of enthusiasm. It
did not let me down. I can't say it was the way I expected, but let me c
...more
Deborah Sloan
Oct 18, 2011 Deborah Sloan rated it it was amazing
I wanted to review this book because although I recognized the name Fyodor Dostoevsky,there was very little I knew about the man and knew my knowledge was greatly lacking in that area. Peter Leithart takes us into Dostoevsky life,his day to day struggles with Tsar Russia political upheaval and the writer’s trials with getting published in intellectual circles whose voice on politics could at the time get you killed or imprisoned as it did wtih Dostoevsky and many others.

But you also get to know
...more
Jason Twombly
Nov 28, 2011 Jason Twombly rated it really liked it
Shelves: peter-leithart
Mother Russia's own prophet of literary fame, "Fyodor Dostoevsky" is the biography you'll want to read if you are a fan of Russia, literature or humanity. Ablaze with insight and the soul of a Russian muse, Peter Leithart introduces us to Fyodor, the boy, the dreamer, the Siberian prisoner, the epileptic, the lover and the prophet.

A man born to write with the coal of national compassion burning in his breast points to Christ as the only hope for the Russian people. He says, "I tell you that Chri
...more
Emily (Heinlen) Davis
Feb 17, 2012 Emily (Heinlen) Davis rated it it was amazing
This book is very interesting. Not only does it provide you with background information on Dostoevsky's life, but it does it in such a way that you forget that you are reading a historical biography and, instead, you find yourself lost in the story. Definitely, the best way to teach students about his life. I recommend it!

That being said, I think it should be noted that the reader needs to get passed the first portion of the book without putting it down before they can really enjoy it. I found t
...more
Kristine Coumbe
Oct 11, 2011 Kristine Coumbe rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was excited to read a biography about a great Russian novelist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky. I was interested in reading about Dostoevsky's experience in Siberia was frustrated, that instead most of the book centered on his childhood and not enough on his adulthood experiences. I found Leithart's use of fictionalized conversations of historical figures and events annoying. Whenever a writer uses a techniques as this it blurs the line between reality and fiction. However,I do feel that Lei ...more
Adam Shields
Oct 05, 2011 Adam Shields rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Short review: I am sure there are others that will like this book. Reviews say that there are. But I hated this. Biography should follow biography form. It is not ok to fictionalize biography. The majority of this book is a fictionalized conversation where Dostoevsky tells his story to another character. Dialogue is clunky and contrived. At one point he says, "I know you heard this story before but I am going to tell it to you again". I gave up. It just was not worth reading. I have another biog ...more
David Alexander
Nov 30, 2014 David Alexander rated it it was amazing
Peter Leithart is one of the great teachers of our time in my book, or at least a very good writer-teacher. I anticipated his book on Dostoevsky would be as good as his book on Jane Austen, but he approached this book in a very different manner, as a fictional narrative. Surprisingly, he pulled it off with the same and perhaps greater quality as his Encounters book on Austen. This is the sixth book I've read by him and I look forward to more. I was first hooked on his written teaching by his Bra ...more
Becky Pliego
Nov 27, 2012 Becky Pliego rated it really liked it
Very good.
Nathan
Nov 07, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean
May 02, 2012 Sean rated it it was amazing
My affections for Dostoevsky and for Leithart being what they are, I am probably predisposed to oversell this little book, but I assure you I have considered that fact and nevertheless write the following in good conscience. This modest biography is set as a series of fictional conversations between Fyodor and a friend (a form I was skeptical of), but its result was a sense of natural, intimate, complete knowledge. Leithart has brilliantly approached the biographical task the way Fr. Zossima mig ...more
Wendy Hines
Jul 03, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it really liked it
I became a fan of Dostoevsky the first time I read Crime and Punishment. Dostoevsky was an early 1800's Russian novelist. This book is set up as a conversation between Dostoevsky and another, complete with flashbacks throughout his life. We're taken from his earliest education through to his death.

Anyone who has read Dostoevsky will find this a must-read. Even if you've never heard of him, though, this is an excellent book. Not only do we travel Dostoevsky's life, we get to find out where his p
...more
Laverne Ombadykow
Jun 04, 2012 Laverne Ombadykow rated it really liked it
I have read Crime and Punishment and The Karamazov Brother by Fyodor Dostoevsky, so when I had the opportunity to read about the author I quickly agreed.

In this biography Peter Leithart mixed things that had taken place at one time with things that occurred later in Dostoevsky's life - sort of flashed back and forward again. Near the beginning of the book Dostoevsky was standing in front of a firing squad and getting a last minute reprieve. He was then sent to Siberia.

As I read along I learned
...more
Dale
Feb 21, 2012 Dale rated it liked it
A tepid introduction to Dostoevsky

Published in 2011 by Thomas Nelson.

I freely admit to knowing only the barest of details about Fyodor Dostoevsky before starting this book. I was aware of the arguments of some of his works and am familiar with the broad strokes Tsarist Russian politics before the Revolution.

I picked up this book after becoming intrigued with some of Dostoevsky's ideas while reading a book by A Point in Time by David Horowitz. Horowitz quotes extensively from Dostoevsky and talks
...more
Kristi
Apr 03, 2011 Kristi rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, biography, fiction
A quick, entertaining fictionalized biography of Dostoevsky. This book captured his life based on excerpts of his writings, diaries of those who knew him, and historical accounts, but brought them to life through dramatized dialogue. The book is a part of a Christian biography series, so I worried it would be too heavy handed with a theological agenda; I'm glad to say this was not the case, but gave a balanced portrayal of Dostoevsky's worldview. In all, this short volume made me only want to re ...more
Brian
Feb 17, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: leithart
A vivid personality. Leithart writes the Biography almost like Dostoevsky might write it with multiple flashbacks and jerky transitions.

Definitely gave me a taste for his wackiness and the saintliness of his wife, though I didn't quite understand how he was at all a profound thinker; he attaches too much spiritual significance to being a Russian. I'll have to read his novels to figure that out I suppose.
Matt Bianco
Jan 20, 2014 Matt Bianco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Good book. I really enjoyed reading it; Leithart wrote it in a narrative format. So, rather than being first he did this, then he did that, Leithart shares with you Dostoevsky's life as a story. It is a good, easy read. I've never read any other biographies of Dostoevsky, so I have little to compare it to along that regards. But this book is a nice introduction to FD, that is approachable for anyone.
Dustin Ragland
Sep 17, 2011 Dustin Ragland rated it really liked it
Surprised me-apparently a reconstructed long conversation from journals and history, that reads like FM telling you his own whole life, dirt and all. Very good. Joseph Frank's is still the exhaustive one, but this is much less exhausting to read.
Mad Russian the Traveller
Mar 15, 2011 Mad Russian the Traveller rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-shelf
The author uses the conceit of the fictional biography to tell the story of FD's life. The story is fairly light and an easy read, but still deals with the important events in Dostoevsky's life as it relates to the development of his writing.
Piper
Apr 03, 2015 Piper rated it liked it
If you are looking for a good and brief biography of Dostoevsky, this only fits half the bill. It's fairly brief at 175 pages. Dostoevsky narrates his story to a friend in this book, and the writing seemed forced.
Steve
Feb 20, 2012 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: booksneeze
It was ok. Learned a bit about Dostoevsky but the book lacked depth due to its novelist ruin of the story.
Andrew Stout
May 20, 2013 Andrew Stout rated it really liked it
A biography in narrative form - beautifully done. Among other things, this is a fascinating literary reflection on issues of Christ and culture.
Christian
Oct 19, 2011 Christian rated it it was amazing
I'm biased, but this book is really good.
Lance
Lance rated it it was amazing
Dec 03, 2011
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Peter Leithart received an A.B. in English and History from Hillsdale College in 1981, and a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1986 and 1987. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. He has served in two pastorates: He was pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyter ...more
More about Peter J. Leithart...

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