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

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  2,299 ratings  ·  618 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
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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)
Britt, Book Habitue I'm in my 30s and have read many many WWII books and seen documentaries and I still found this volume very interesting. The text can be a strain on th…moreI'm in my 30s and have read many many WWII books and seen documentaries and I still found this volume very interesting. The text can be a strain on the eyes, but probably that's less of an issue at 16 than at my age, lol.(less)

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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
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
Jon 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. ...more
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
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. ...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
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
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, non-fiction
I felt like I should be wearing 3-d glasses while reading.
Brandy Painter
This book is a work of art from start to finished. It is equal parts a comprehensive enough biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to introduce him to those who may not know who he is and a thorough introduction of the fall of Germany to the Hitler and the Third Reich. It is an excellent book to have as art and as historical narrative. Hendrix made it incredibly clear what is directly quoted versus assumed.
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.
Alex Johnson
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the new side of Bonheffer as a rebel (and generally learning more about his life), and Hendrix does a fantastic job of balancing dry history and the intensely human emotions in this story in both his writing and artwork. The coloring was simplistic yet clear in that it showed how opposed Dietrich was to the Third Reich and yet how entrenched he was in it due to being a German citizen. The depiction of Bonheffer's faith was pogniant and almost brought me to tears reading the ending on a c ...more
Alex  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
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
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
Rod Brown
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
At first glance this sort of looks like a graphic novel, but it is really a hand-lettered history book that makes elaborate use of graphic design, spot illustrations, and a color scheme straight off the Miami Dolphins website. So much text! And it switches randomly from all-caps to mixed-case between pages and on the same page.

Ostensibly, the book is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian and minister who was willing to oppose Hitler in a German resistance movement and die for his beliefs, but
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
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
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.
Criminy! This book is chilling up against 2018 American politics. Although it is Dietrich's story it digs into the rise of the Third Reich and shows how a few loud, poisonous voices can lead a whole nation to evil.

A powerful story of living a life of moral courage and conviction.
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
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
There was a little too much information crammed onto each page.
Carmen Imes
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This creative retelling of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life brings an important message to a new generation of Christ-followers. As we wrestle anew with the limits of political allegiance, checks and balances in government power, and the church's naive and not-so-naive complicity in evil, John Hendrix helps us learn valuable lessons from a not-so-distant past.

My 12-year-old and I both read and enjoyed this. Highly recommended!
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
Naomi Bates
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful graphic biographical narrative novel! Hendrix chronicles history on many different levels, from personal, to through the lens of both conspirators and their enemy, the Nazis. The graphics help the reader understand the complexities of the assassination attempts and even battlefields through linear narrative and graphics combined.
I had to have my iPad next to me at all times to go search for more information on people, places, files and even word origins (ie Gestapo). KUDOS to H
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
Brendan Beale
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
A gripping and beautiful graphic novelization of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s grappling with the evils of Nazi Germany. I wish the book delved deeper into Bonhoeffer’s ethical quandaries and heroic defense of the defenseless, but I recognize that level of detail was beyond the scope of a graphic novel. The illustrations were powerful and stunning, and brought many quotes leaping off the page. My favorite: “If the church, in this moment, did not exist to protect ‘the other,’ it had no right to be called ...more
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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.

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46 likes · 21 comments
“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.” 3 likes
“Faith, without action, is no faith at all. Love, without sacrifice, is no love at all.” 2 likes
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