Listened to the audiobook, read by the author. It reminded me in some ways of my mother's extended family (she grew up in Morgantown, WV). While the aListened to the audiobook, read by the author. It reminded me in some ways of my mother's extended family (she grew up in Morgantown, WV). While the author does spend some time looking broadly at the cultural crisis of poor Appalachian whites, most of the book was the simple telling of his own story. It was a good reminder that looking deeply into a single person's life experience is infinitely more complicated and interesting than the generalizations we often make about others. Highly recommended....more
**spoiler alert** I listened to the audio of this, read by the author. It was interesting to hear about his childhood in Hamilton, Ontario and early c**spoiler alert** I listened to the audio of this, read by the author. It was interesting to hear about his childhood in Hamilton, Ontario and early career in Toronto, where he seemed to be friends with all the Canadian comedic actors coming up in the '70s. There was a bit of a lull as he gave a blow-by-blow account of his career in the '80s, but hearing him do his famous characters like Ed Grimley and Jiminy Glick were a treat. The later chapters were especially poignant as he reflected on the death of his wife....more
Wilberforce himself had an incredible story of course, though I did occasionally get irritated with Metaxas's hagiographic and often sentimental writiWilberforce himself had an incredible story of course, though I did occasionally get irritated with Metaxas's hagiographic and often sentimental writing....more
John Stott had gradually slipped off the world stage over the last few years. But when he died at the age of 90 this past July, suddenly he became anJohn Stott had gradually slipped off the world stage over the last few years. But when he died at the age of 90 this past July, suddenly he became an object of conversation. He was without peer as an evangelical Christian leader in Britain and the world. It is a testament to his talents as a bridge-builder that tributes to him came from all over the world and all over the spectrum of political and religious belief. There was even a tribute from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. Reading it, I was reminded that David Brooks had said in the same newspaper in 2004 that “if evangelicals could elect a pope, Stott is the person they would likely choose.”
This biography by Roger Steer was written in 2009, and was based in part on conversations with Stott and several of his friends. It traces Stott’s life from his early days as the son of a prominent physician, to his days at Cambridge and his decision to become a pastor, to his time as curate and rector of All Souls in London and his rise to international prominence. It gives details about his many travels, his contributions to the evangelical Christian movement and his friendships with other well-known people.
In it, Stott comes across as a man with a gift for friendship, a sharp mind, a sense of humor and a deep commitment to Jesus as Lord of all of life. The book is not afraid to present Stott “warts and all,” but there really aren’t many warts. Despite his gift for friendship, Stott could be reserved. With his great intelligence and disciplined lifestyle, he could sometimes be impatient with those who were more sloppy in their thinking or less disciplined in their living than he was. However, he was a man who was conscious of his faults and humble enough to admit them.
Stott has long been a hero of mine, and this book did nothing to change that. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Stott’s life, especially those who might be intimidated by Timothy Dudley-Smith’s larger two-volume biography....more
An enjoyable recounting of how the author went from skeptic to Christian believer over a year of graduate studies at Oxford University. The author isAn enjoyable recounting of how the author went from skeptic to Christian believer over a year of graduate studies at Oxford University. The author is a professor of Romantic literature, so there are lots of literary references. And some song references. Mostly to U2....more
This is the second book that I have read in the Christian Encounters series from Thomas Nelson, and I must admit that the idea behind the series is aThis is the second book that I have read in the Christian Encounters series from Thomas Nelson, and I must admit that the idea behind the series is a good one: short biographies of well-known people, with an emphasis on their Christian faith. The first book in this series that I read was Peter Leithart’s biography of Jane Austen.
I chose to read Jeremy Lott’s treatment of William F. Buckley because I wanted to know more about Buckley. All I knew was that he was a conservative, a writer, and the founder and editor of National Review. The book certainly did introduce me to Buckley: I learned about his wealthy Catholic upbringing, his time at Yale, his initial writing success, the founding of National Review, his unsuccessful campaign for mayor of New York and how his TV show Firing Line got its start, among other things.
Though the book did teach me about Buckley, I was put off by Lott’s writing. He alternately gushes about Buckley and criticizes those whom he (Lott) dislikes. He calls the announcement of Buckley’s campaign for mayor of New York “legendary” (70). Legendary to whom, exactly? He says that Buckley’s responses to journalists during the announcement of his candidacy “only fueled their cynicism” (74) -- without citing any evidence for this opinion. He never wastes an opportunity to slight Garry Wills, whom he says “ended up endorsing just about any old liberal position you could think of” (47).
Now, I expect biographers to have a certain affection for their subjects. And I suppose Lott has lots of reasons for criticizing the people he criticizes. That’s not the problem. The problem is that Lott never wastes an opportunity to inject his opinions into Buckley’s story. He never gives his readers the chance to make their own judgments, and I ended up wanting more Buckley and less Lott. I’d read more Buckley in a hearbeat, but I’ll have to think twice before I read anything else by Lott....more