Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler” as Want to Read:
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,019 ratings  ·  315 reviews
Interweaving handwritten text and art, John Hendrix tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his fight against the oppression of the German people during World War II. Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was shocked to watch the German church embrace Hitler's agenda of hatred. He spoke out against the Nazi party and led a breakaway church that rebe ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Faithful Spy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Danette My 12 and 15 yr old boys are fascinated. My 7 yr old daughter likes looking at the pictures and listening but it's probably going over her head a bit.…moreMy 12 and 15 yr old boys are fascinated. My 7 yr old daughter likes looking at the pictures and listening but it's probably going over her head a bit. She knows Hitler is the bad man.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,019 ratings  ·  315 reviews

Sort order
In this life, it can be difficult to find absolutes. Absolute good. Absolute evil. Absolute good in the face of absolute evil. For many of us, the world can be a gray and murky place, where the sheer complexity of each individual human does away with those archaic, grandiose declarations of what is and is not “sinful”.

And then there’s Hitler.

Boy, you just couldn’t have designed a better baddie if you tried. Not a shred of a redeeming quality clings to his form. Thanks to him, WWII really did b
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
This really transcends the category of 'children's books' - but that is my opinion. The story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer has so much to teach us still today; faith in crisis is so hard to define and measure. John Hendrix also transcends the traditional definition of a GN (yet the art is some of the most innovative and original representations of Nazi Germany I have ever seen). Heartbreaking yet uplifting - highest recommendation.
Adam Shields
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short Review: I have read a lot on Bonhoeffer previously. So I was not coming into the book blind. I think this was a good overview and it avoided a lot of pitfalls around Bonhoeffer. I do think that it hinted at too large a role for Bonhoeffer in a couple places where Bonhoeffer was a more peripheral figure, but for the most part the history is good.

I also liked the art, as with any graphic novel plays a very important role.

Honestly, I think this is probably the best presentation about how Hit
Lauren Stoolfire
How in the world wasn't I already familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer before now? This ought to be required reading. The writing style is well put together and accessible, plus the art is fantastic.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a
My oldest read this and LOVED it. We've been talking about it for a couple of days! I want to read it as well! Highly recommend!
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book! I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about The Faithful Spy since I finished it. It’s an exceptional piece of work. A graphic novel(but not) that tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer(and others) and his part in the plot to kill Hitler. It also gives you a clear picture on how Hitler came to power. The artwork itself sucks you right in and never feels overwhelming. If you are a history fan, an art fan, or someone who wants to read about a person who made choices for the greater ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm happy to own a copy of this beautiful, meaningful book by award-winning illustrator John Hendrix. So much work went into this, from the pens used to illustrate to the font developed specifically from Hendrix's own handwriting. The topic is timely as it reduces to an accessible level the rise to power of Hitler and how most of Germany allowed for his ascendancy. But mostly, it's a touching tribute to Bonhoeffer, one of the few who stepped up out of conscience and love of his god. This is my f ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was loaned to me by a friend and I've consequently ordered a copy for school. This graphic novel is so beautifully produced. It is full of detail and I learnt so much about a man that I had never heard of before.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a hero and his story deserves to be known and John Hendrix has produced a beautiful book about his sad life which should be read by everyone. Dietrich was a religious boy, born in Germany, different from the rest of his family in that he was fascinated by th
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wowza. If you ever come across an adult who has decided that graphic novels are not 'real' reading (THEY. ARE.), give them this. Hendrix masterfully uses the format to tell the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, using panels, maps, and infographics to provide the reader with background knowledge on his religious beliefs, the history of how Hitler came into power, and the military strategies of the Germany army. This book will be a challenging read for kids/teenagers, but the format will help them und ...more
Molly Dettmann
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A really interesting story told in an eye-catching way. With a mix of mediums (artwork, comic panels, illustrations) it made for a fast-paced follow along. I do think the size of the lettering was hard to read at times which makes me give it a 3 instead of a 4.
Barb Middleton
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Succeeds in showing how a person like Hitler can rise to power. Well done. Beautiful illustrations.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorites. Everything about this book was perfect, the characters to the plot. Highly recommend it to anyone.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Faithul Spy by John Hendrix, 175 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL Amulet Books (Abrams), 2018. $25.

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.



Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a German who lived during Adolf Hitler’s rise in the Nazi Party. Bonhoeffer loved God and felt like Hitler was spreading evil and hate, so Bonhoeffer became a part of the German resistance fighters. He spread information and tried to help others, but eventually was impris
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
In its starred review, Kirkus calls The Faithful Spy an audacious graphic biography and it certainly is that. But then again, it is about a man whose whole being centered around theology and his own religious beliefs at a time when these beliefs were about to be sorely tested. Illustrated in bold teal, red, and black against black, white, teal or red backgrounds, this is equally a story about Adolf Hitler's seizure of power and of the rise of the German resistance.

Twins Sabine and Dietrich Bonho
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I think the drawings are absolutely beautiful, but I had some issues with legibility and text layout. I enjoyed the story, though I found the pacing a bit choppy at points, though I do think it is rather hard to convey a narrative of those length in a short graphic novel. I just wasn’t that affected by this, I think stemming from a combination of this being meant for a younger audience and my general aversion to religious stories.
Ms. Yingling
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

While the author says in an end note that he excluded a lot of information, the average reader will be very surprised by this. The Faithful Spy is very complete coverage of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's early life, his studies in the field of theology, the rise of Hitler, and Bonhoeffer's involvement in a plan to kill the German dictator. Through all of this explanation, most of it done in hand-drawn style lettering on highly decorated pages rendered in red, bla
Roy Howard
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read many books by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and several biographies. Yet nothing like this marvelous new graphic novel. The author describes it as a work of art, not scholarship. He's right but also modest about his scholarship. Though written for younger adults, Hendrix tells a complex story with a interwoven with German history. The combination of the art, narrative and history makes this a remarkable book. He uses the green and red colors to enhance the struggle between good and evil that pla ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, teen
I felt like I should be wearing 3-d glasses while reading.
Rachel Libke
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel is incredible. The author did an amazing job succinctly laying out Bonhoeffer's moral struggles and faith alongside the actions that sprang from those convictions. The book achieves a focused and clear narrative despite conveying a complex amount of information (for such a short book) on both Hitler's rise and Bonhoeffer's life and the radically opposed philosophies that motivated the two men. The text and art support each other so well; I especially loved the visual metaphors ...more
Hannah Flowers
Wow. I did not expect to love this graphic novel as much as I did. To start with, this book is beautiful. Drop-dead gorgeous! The illustrations are incredible and the color scheme is eye-catching and visually stunning. The written content is well written for the age group (Juvie) and focuses not so much on the nitty gritty details of Bonhoeffer's life but the overarching themes of loving "the other" and living a life of integrity even when that means certain death. I can't recommend this book en ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
What a contrast to Boots on the Ground! This was packed with historical information, as well as Bonhoeffer's religious development and dilemmas. I thought there was a lot of text, but it was organized well and didn't seem overwhelming. I read it electronically and was happy that I could enlarge some of the text, especially the dark text on the red background, but that may not be an issue for teens. I think this will be great for religious teens of any faith and those who are interested in WWII.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic, j-ya
BITTE LEST DIESES BUCH. So few fellow people in USA know anything about the German resistance during WWII (and this lack of knowledge continues to make my life difficult). Read, learn, divest of the Hollywoodization of that time period. Herzlich bedankt!
John Majors
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book aloud to our younger kids (8 & 6) and I was really surprised by how well they listened to the entire thing. The pictures and art throughout the book are fantastic. I loved the way the story and the art merged together. I thought the writing could have been stronger - sometimes a bit wordy, but that's ok. I've been a huge Bonhoeffer fan for quite a few years - and I think his story is one that needs to be heard by more and more people. It's truly amazing. This is a great way ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-to-lincoln
This was fantastic. Engaging text, engaging illustrations, very readable. We finished it 3 days!!
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
So good. With such a pleasing color palette and illustrations. I loved the interweaving of his faith and experience as a theologian with his moral compass and duty to rightful disobedience.
Micaiah Saldaña
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Faith, without action, is no faith at all. Love, without sacrifice, is no love at all.” -THE FAITHFUL SPY by John Hendrix

“This is the end—for me the beginning of life.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic graphics presenting the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Do you ever read a book that makes you think you need to go back and redo all of your GoodReads rating because this is the new standard for 5 stars?

Hendrix starts the book off with a start white page with black text, paragraphs lined up in a row. In just these few words, he gets the reader thinking about Germany, WWII, a people vs the people and history. And then you turn the page and are sucked into a world of color - of peaceful, contemplative blues and angry, offensive reds. We learn about Di
Cynthia Egbert
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-and-read
Well, I never thought I would find myself giving a graphic novel a four star rating but this one was powerful enough to cause me to run to the bookstore and get my own copy. I have a decent working knowledge of Bonhoeffer and this one really was true to the facts without giving into some of the myths that have been perpetuated over the years concerning the man. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is fine just as he is and doesn't need any embellishment. The nice surprise I found with this book was the fabulous ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A summation of Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s life

This book, which is similar to a graphic novel, with lots of drawing and thought bubbles, gives a good summary of the life of the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It also gives a good picture of Adolf Hitler, how he came to power and some of the failed assassination attempts Bonhoeffer was part of, although he was a self proclaimed pacifist. His love of God and fellow humans drove what he did, although he struggled greatly through it all. I thought
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
  • Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam
  • Spooked!: How a Radio Broadcast and the War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America
  • Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism
  • The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science
  • Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
  • We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler
  • Victoria: Portrait of a Queen
  • Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend
  • Chasing King's Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassin
  • So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom
  • Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
  • The Underground Abductor (An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman) (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, #5)
  • Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story
  • Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City
  • The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero
  • Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
  • Preaching to the Chickens
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Hendrix is the illustrator of Nurse, Soldier, Spy and author/illustrator of Shooting at theStars, among others. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
“The ultimate question for a responsible man to ask is not how he is to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation is going to live.” 2 likes
“Looking back, all he could see was a swirling pillar of ash and bones behind him. But ahead, there was someone standing on the surface of the water! Suddenly, a strong hand plunged through the watery roiling veil and held his arm fast. It jerked, and Dietrich shuddered. The hand lifted him straight up--into the warmth, into the light. "This is the end--for me the beginning of life.” 1 likes
More quotes…