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The Holy War

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  702 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A fierce battle rages to take control away from the rightful Prince of Mansoul. Who will be the conquering prince? Diabolus or Emmanuel? And what can the inhabitants do to resist the attacks of the evil one? Your soul is under attack from the forces of evil. Through this powerful allegory, you will learn how to build up your defenses and prepare for war. Bunyan will illumi ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Whitaker House (first published 1682)
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Jennifer Connors I haven't been through the entire thing yet, but my curriculum coordinator would not have chosen it for my class if there was anything bad... There…moreI haven't been through the entire thing yet, but my curriculum coordinator would not have chosen it for my class if there was anything bad... There are some character names that make me think that those characters are quite immoral, (Vile Affection married Carnal Lust) however, the names are supposed to be description enough. We are a very conservative Christian School, so while an 11 year old may not fully grasp all of the concepts presented, I do not anticipate anything that you would be overly concerned with him discovering. There is an audio version available through Libravox (free) but the wording for that recording is the original language and full version instead of the abridged version. We tried to use them together, but very hard to do at the same time. You might be able to screen it that way or just let him listen to it.(less)
Jennifer Connors This particular version, the abridged version is much easier than the original. I am teaching it in my high school Literature class.

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Matt Pitts
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bunyan is best known for his allegory of the Christian life called the Pilgrim's Progress. No doubt that is where any reader of Bunyan should start. But those who enjoy his Bible-saturated allegory and its unique and powerful manner of communicating truth would do well to follow it up with the Holy War.

The Holy War is also an allegory, but rather than featuring a single main character, Christian, and considering his life as a whole, this allegory revolves around the great town of Mansoul and it
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a true classic. John Bunyan colorfully illustrates the war that we daily wage against Satan (a.k.a. Diabolus). In this book, Bunyan shows that, while the inner battle against Satan will never end while we live on this earth, we will triumph in the end through Christ.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. It had an interesting idea behind it, and it was written by the guy who brought us PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. I tried to make myself enjoy it, even when it was boring the living daylights out of me. But no more! I'm done!
The story of THE HOLY WAR is fairly nonsensical in and of itself. Readers are expected to take it as allegory and fill in the missing plot gaps with pieces of the biblical narrative. Like in PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, each character has a name that basically
John Hanscom
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I am about to commit literary heresy - I am about to diss John Bunyan. The only reason I've rated this book as average is that the author is, well, John Bunyan. Just because he was a 17th Century Puritan doesn't mean I have to like his writing. Because Puritans held the Sabbath day sacred and permitted no sport, John believed that this had been the voice of God, chastising his indulgent ways. John's spirituality was born from this experience and he began to struggle with guilt, self-doubt and to ...more
Lexi Emmons
Feb 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
I read this book on a bet. Oh my word I should have just lost the bet. How in the world can anyone have written a book so tedious. "John, come on John buddy, you can't substitute names for plot. I mean I know you did it with the Pilgrim's Progress and it work out okay, but honestly, this needs to stop."
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Holy War is the allegorical story of the attack on Mansoul by the Devil. It is told in the same style as the more well-known Pilgrim’s Progress, also by Bunyan. Its style is antiquated and a bit overdone for the modern reader, but the message and the truths it portrays are still valid and relevant. I found it an insightful read.

Feb 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For people who like old school battle action, this is a great twist on the real life battle Christians face. Not in the sense of Christian vs Non-Christian, but within ourselves. Our daily struggles and how we face them.

Cleverly written, but could be shorter and make the same points.
Geoff Volker
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It looks at the christian life from the point of view of what takes place inside the head of the believer.
May 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It was definitely an eye-opener to the spiritual warfare going on around us, but I found the writing style a bit more difficult to read than his other books, such as Pilgrim's Progress.
Rebeca Salazar
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book... Every christian must read it!
Aaron Carlberg
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
John Bunyon (1628-1688) is probably best known for his book The Pilgrims Progress rather than his lesser-known works, one of which is The Holy War. When bunion wrote The Holy War he was actually imprisoned for preaching without a license…this imprisonment lasted 12 years. You can see much of feelings come to play as the story unfolds in this book.

Mansoul is the name of city a that is under the great king Shaddai. No one can enter the town of Mansoul unless the city opens the gates from the insid
This book and CD reading was the last gift that my dad gave my children before his death, but we waited awhile for them to mature to give it to them. I had already remembered that my dad had liked this story, perhaps even better than John Bunyan's other, more popular work, "Pilgrim's Progress," but I had been reluctant to read it because of the title. Wars sound gory. However, "The Holy War," repackaged as "ManSoul" in the CD reading, was not gory at all, especially when taken symbolically, as i ...more
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, allegory

This is one of those older, classic works that has been staring me in the face since I bought it in 1995. The edition I read has been updated to modern English for the modern reader. Naturally, one would wonder if it is as good as The Pilgrim's Progress. The answer is no. However, it does hold its place in Christian allegory. In fact, I would almost reccommend the reader to tackle this one before The Pilgrim's Progress for two reasons: 1) it covers the bigger picture of redemption and the battle

Claude Graves
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a good allegorical book by Bunyan, although not quite on par as The Pilgrim's Progress. It is the story of the town of Mansoul, and the tale of it's fall from innocence into captivity and bondage to Diabolus, representing the Christian fall. Later, Christ's first advent is represented, with Prince Emmanuel recapturing Mansoul for his father, King Shaddai. Then the Prince leaves and the town battles back and forth with the forces of Diabolus, being strengthened by the Holy Spirit to not ...more
Courtney Umlauf
It's not surprising to me that this work from John Bunyan has somewhat fallen to the wayside, while The Pilgrims Progress has remained popular. One pilgrim on a journey, meeting new "characters" at each stop works well. The episodic nature supports the didactic. In The Holy War, man's soul is represented by a town called, not surprisingly, Mansoul. Satan and God/Jesus battle for control of the town. So instead of the reader coming upon someone like "Mr. Worldly Wiseman" alone and being given eno ...more
Matt Hancock
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once again I was richly encouraged by this allegory, reading it aloud to my son. The grace and mercy of God shine so brightly in this story after seeing the darkness of Mansoul's utter rejection of Emmanuel and open welcoming of Diabolus. Still Emmanuel had mercy!

The following is a part of Emmanuel's last speech to Mansoul:
"You my Mansoul and beloved of my heart, many and great are the priviledges that I have bestowed on you. I have singled you out from others and have chosen you for myself; not
Steven Wedgeworth
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This was not exactly my favorite book. It's certainly not as good as Pilgrim's Progress, even though it has many parallels. The allegory is a bit too much for me, and I found several aspects of the theology overly "self" centered. Some of this is due to the extremes (both good and bad) of "Puritanism," and some of it is due to the confusion that sets in with so many characters. I missed a number of important points at first and had to go back through in group discussion. There are some interesti ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Mansoul, a town that is turned from following Emmanuel time and again by Diabolus and his evil schemes. It is written in allegory form, but I found it less engaging than Pilgrim's Progress. Bunyan tended to rely on the mere mention of names of those who opposed Shaddai (Ill-Pause, Discontent, Prejudice, Benumbing, Rashhead, etc) rather than developing them as characters and giving more flesh to the story. I was pleased to note the connection to Charlotte Mason's book "Oursel ...more
A little hard to read, mainly because there is no stopping point. It's 200 pages with no breaks. But Bunyan creates an interesting scenario in which the city of Mansoul is usurped by Diabolus, and Emmanuel makes war on his own town to regain it. After the victory, Diabolus mounts another attack, and even though he fails, Mansoul inhabitants constantly struggle to eradicate rebels within the gates. Somewhere I read that in The Holy War, Bunyan represents not only the individual (through the metap ...more
Clement Lee
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I can't like it for its style (too...straightforward and simplistic, and the updated English sounds so bland), but I really appreciate it for the depth of spiritual insight it gives into the individual christian life (illustrated by Mansoul town). And I like that the names of Bunyan's characters always reveal the characters' character (maybe that's why the story doesn't have much of a plot twist); I got to know so many vices and virtues here. Bunyan is a master of the human heart. I think it wou ...more
Tina  M
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful allegory by John Bunyan chronicles the city of Mansoul who was possessed by King Shaddai until the evil Diabolus inhabits it and fights for possession. How I recognize Diabolus's tactics in claiming the city: busyness, sin, deceit, trickery, flattery...anything to get the citizens of Mansoul to give him a foothold. Yet, the unconditional love, mercy, and perseverance by Emmanuel, the Prince is no match for Diabolus and his co-horts.

"Hold Fast, till I come."
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books ever written! The word usage is done so well that you can see the whole allegory unfold. My first exposure to this book was a spoken version on a Christian radio station. They read an hour of The Holy War at a time and I tuned in every day to hear another hour of one of the greatest literary works by John Bunyan. I have read this book over 10 times and it never gets old.
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great illustration of the battle that is waged for our souls, told as a story where the soul is a town named Mansoul, and a war is waged against its inhabitants by Satan and is overtaken. Jesus is the Prince who comes to retake the town for His own, for the glory of His Father... I think you know how this battle will turn out! Very good book.
Tim Lockman
Nov 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
This has to be the worst book I've ever read, and I don't say that lightly. Bunyan uses a city as an allegory for the soul, with each inhabitant representing some character quality (or fault). The characters are completely (and intentionally) one-dimensional; that one quality is all there is to them. And they just keep coming; more and more of them. It is a dreary and insufferably boring book.
M Rothenbuhler
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Given my over the top opinion of "Pilgrim's Progress," you'd think I'd have a higher opinion of this one.

However, I could not make much sense of it.

Maybe I should give it another try.

I understand the premise, but the analogies kept breaking down for me.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
John Bunyan's brilliant mind in the 1600s produced this great allegory of Satan's war against man's soul. This book is so insightful about Satan's schemes against man, and Christ's rescue and continual rescue that I really love it better than his more popular classic Pilgrim's Progress.
Chris Comis
Mar 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, literature
Not bad. Kinda wierd, like reading a F. Peretti novel about demons and angels batteling it out in the heavenlies. Bunyan was a great story teller though, and his stroies often have a deeper theme about righteousness versus wickedness. It's kind of a morality tale of sorts.
Ross Heinricy
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, and it is the second I have read written by John Bunyan. The allegory is strong and made a huge impact at how I look at the eye gate and the ear gate. I won't say more to give anything away except this...GREAT BOOK!
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Another allegory from John Bunyan. Much more laborious reading than Pilgrim's Progress, but just as pointed (and more obvious) allegory. It's a book full of truth, but it tends to drag on in sections.
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John Bunyan, a Christian writer and preacher, was born at Harrowden (one mile south-east of Bedford), in the Parish of Elstow, England. He wrote The Pilgrim's Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory. In the Church of England he is remembered with a Lesser Festival on 30 August.
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“Nothing can hurt you except sin; nothing can grieve me except sin; nothing can defeat you except sin. Therefore, be on your guard, my Mansoul.” 25 likes
“Another part or piece,' said Diabolus, 'of mine excellent armour, is a dumb and prayerless spirit, a spirit that scorns to cry for mercy, let the danger be ever so great; therefore be you, my Mansoul, sure that you make use of this.” 3 likes
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