Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” as Want to Read:
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

by
4.23  ·  Rating details ·  42,025 Ratings  ·  3,196 Reviews
As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer--a pastor and author, known as much for such spiritual classics as "The Cost of Discipleship "and "Life Together," as for hi ...more
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published April 18th 2010 by Thomas Nelson (first published August 21st 2009)
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 Bonhoeffer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tcblack Conservative in what way? I will say that his stated position on the sufficiency of scripture is clear enough. His view on the church is profoundly…moreConservative in what way? I will say that his stated position on the sufficiency of scripture is clear enough. His view on the church is profoundly distinct from nationalism. And his view of utter reliance upon God in Jesus Christ for redemption is clear.

That said, you're not likely to find that every position he has is one you would hold (or maybe so).
In terms of gospel primacy and the sufficiency of Scripture I would certainly hold him as conservative.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Mike (the Paladin)
Let me say first that this is a wonderful book. Congratulations Mr. Metaxas.

From an account of Bonhoeffer's life to the overlay of history I was drawn in and followed it. There is (of course) for me a sort of bittersweet sense to the book as Bonhoeffer died just before the end of WWII. He was murdered about 3 weeks before Hitler took his own life more than likely having been murdered on the orders of the mad man himself.

Some will not be as interested in the theological insights that can be found
...more
S.
We all know history is written and it’s no use wishing for some other outcome when reading a biography or history book. Yet reading this book I felt a terrible suspense. I knew Bonhoeffer was a goner - still I bit my nails, I dreaded, I cried, I hoped, and for a while I even engaged in magical thinking, imagining if I boycotted the last 20 pages Bonhoeffer would not die!

The sense of tragedy is heightened because the end of the war almost let Bonhoeffer escape his stupid fate, death coming just
...more
Sally Wessely
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely amazing book about a man who truly was a pastor, a martyr and a prophet. It is a must read for every Christian. We must examine our own beliefs about how we are to live as Christians in relation to the State, and to each other. The book helps the reader to understand how Nazi Germany happened and the role that the German church played in what happened in Germany after World War I. Someone said that Eric Metaxas has done for Bonhoeffer what David McCullough has done done for ...more
Justin Evans
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-etc
Yikes- this was a real disappointment, or, as Metaxas might say, a hemorrhoidal bummer. I was excited when I read reviews when it came out. Then I was wary when I learned that Metaxas is the 'founder and host' of a philosophy reading group for crazy-rich, conservative New Yorkers. Then when I saw that the blurbs for his book, rather than being by biographers or scholars, were by CEOs, ex-CEOs, former General Partners of Goldman Sachs, Kirkus journalists or people who feel the need to put PhD at ...more
Mark Sutherland
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On a rare occasion I get so involved in a book that it becomes real to me. The characters come to life. The story envelops me with its mental imagery and emotion. And when you finish, it's like emerging from another world that existed for only a short while.

And on an even rarer occasion, a book about real people does the same.

Yesterday, I finished reading "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" by Eric Metaxas. Yesterday, I lost a friend who I won't meet until eternity.

Bonhoeffer was a pas
...more
Mara
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Note in re. reviewerly shortcomings:
Let me preface this by saying that I am about as ill-qualified as one can be when it comes to ecumenical history. The full extent of my knowledge on the Protestant Reformation is that Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of a church on October 31, 1517 (and I only remember that because I remember thinking that it was weird that he did that on Halloween, and that the digits of 95 and 1517 both add up to 14...random, I know, but, hey, I was a sophomore in
...more
Brad Lyerla
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is an inspiration and a revelation. I do not know anyone who does not find much to admire in Bonhoeffer. Even those who find Christian doctrines to stretch plausibility can admire Bonhoeffer's courage as a moral and principled man standing up to authoritarianism at the risk of his own life.

When the Nazis co-opted the Lutheran Church in Germany, he helped to organize a new church, called the Confessing Church, to oppose the Nazi's attempted corruption of German Christianity. W
...more
Dougald Blue
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
He gave everything for principle during WWII. The Nazis murdered him while his former fellow Lutherans, the German nationla established church, adopted Nazi liturgy and caved. Bonhoeffer and others founded an alternative denomination that was opposed to national socialism. A great lesson for today's moral relativists in the USA.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
It was said that when he prays it is as if he is really conversing with a God who is listening to him.

His family was rich and influential. He had aristocratic lineage both in the maternal and paternal side. Close relatives occupied high positions in the government, including the military.

He had a real talent for music, but he chose to be a theologian and a pastor of the Lutheran church where he belonged. But he was open-minded insofar as faith and salvation is concerned. He had wanted to visit I
...more
Mark Jr.
Nov 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, kindle
I'm hovering between three and four stars here, because I did enjoy the book. Quite a stirring narrative. But, to put it too bluntly, I don't have a fundamental trust in the theological acumen and judgment of Eric Metaxas. He's certainly a good writer who did his homework (more on that in a moment), but I've read some Bonhoeffer—and he just didn't quite speak the language of evangelical Protestantism like Metaxas seems to assume.

Even within the book there are hints that Bonhoeffer probably shoul
...more
Rachel Terry
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was hoping for a great biography with this book, but it turned out to be so much more than that. In fact, I would say it's more like three books in one. Talk about overdelivering.

Book #1: How Did Hitler Happen?
I've read a lot about World War II and the Holocaust (haven't we all?), but I've never read a book that explained so clearly how Hitler rose to power and got away with so much. Because World War II and the Holocaust are such enormous topics, narratives tend to jump right into the middle
...more
Shannon
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could have taken longer to read this book. It's excellent. Like the subject's "Letters and Papers from Prison", I found myself not wanting to turn pages because I knew they would bring me to the end of his story. Bonhoeffer is one of those rare men whose close following of Christ led him to very difficult places. Yet he went, with boldness and even joy at times, knowing that following God's call was the most important thing. His story personally challenges me through his combination of ...more
Josh
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is one of those times I curse my own ignorance. This was my first introduction to Bonhoeffer and I regret not meeting him some other way. Because this book has some freaking problems.

They're not Bonhoeffer's problems though; they're the author's.

Let me start with the easiest. It's the last thing in the book, but it confirmed a lot of what I'd been suspecting. The About the Author section, which for most writers runs a paragraph or two, and even for the likes of Dostoevsky or Faulkner runs
...more
Holly
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
The problem of evil. The origins of morality. German culture. Twentieth-century Protestant theology.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a more conservative thinker than I'd assumed. I've never read Cost of Discipleship or Ethics, so this long biography filled in my knowledge of his life and career while at the same time introduced me to his actual writings and sermons. (One challenge of listening to the audiobook was tolerating the lengthy sermon-excerpts that Metaxas offers. But I also had the print editi
...more
Kimba Tichenor
Jul 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography
I will be honest it scares me to see the many positive reviews of this book, as it contains numerous historical errors, not to mention it grossly oversimplifies Bonhoeffer's theology. The historical errors include locating Bonn in Switzerland and asserting that Germany was not yet an authoritarian state in 1934 -- one year after Hitler seized power. But of greater concern than these factual errors and the misspelling of German concentration camps (both Buchenwald and Dachau are spelled incorrect ...more
Melinda
Sept 2014
As excellent on the 3rd reading as it was on the first 2. Highly highly recommended.

What struck me at this reading was how Bonhoeffer's family was privy to so much that was happening in the German government so far ahead of when the average German seemed to find out. I am reading "The Storm of War" now, and it is fascinating to see the military issues set in contrast to this much more personal view of history in Germany at the time.

******************************************************
...more
J.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Just finished my thick skim of Metaxas' book. I enjoyed the flow of his narrative, though the attempt to cram the historical record--kicking and screaming if necessary--into the ideological categories of contemporary politics was troubling and a bit distracting at times. That said, I enjoyed it and may spend more time with it once I'm not quite as busy as I am now.

This paragraph from the review in Books and Culture seems particularly apt:

"What will be the impact of this heroic tale on American
...more
Lawyer
Metaxas has written a compelling biography of a complex hero of the German Resistance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was the product of two aristocratic German families. His father was a psychiatrist at the leading hospital in Berlin. His mother was a member of the von Hase family, a descendant of well known theologians. A mixture of science, logic, discipline and devotion were daily presences in the Bonhoeffer home. When Dietrich announced he had chosen to study theology at the age of thirteen, it wa ...more
Adam Shields
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Full review at http://bookwi.se/bonhoeffer-pastor-ma...

Short reviews: I keep going back and forth between 4 and 5 stars. I think this was a very good biography. And it left me wanting more, which I think is a good sign. Metaxas did a good job pulling Bonhoeffer out of the boxes that he is often put into. He was more than just a theologian or writer, or part of an assassination plot. But there were some editing errors and lots of strange descriptions. I called them Dan Ratherisms in my full revie
...more
Jerome
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fine biography, if heavily sanitized. The book's greatest strength is that it reads like a novel. Everything, from Bonhoeffer's academic lectures to his love life, is woven together into a simple but entertaining storyline. I usually have a hard time finishing a biography, but I read this one easily. If you're just looking for an engaging book, this one fits the bill.

The book also makes for easy reading--maybe even too easy at times. I don't think that things were really as straightforward as
...more
Angela
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I give the man Bonhoeffer 5 stars. I know the rating system is for the book, but without the man, again, we would have no book. Jew,Gentile and Christian alike should all take time out for this courageous and prophetic person, esp.in these times.
From this book one can learn how to Be.
Bonhoeffer used everything that was given him in his life to the betterment of all.
John
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, kindle

Metaxas's biography of Dietrich Boenhoeffer is a marvelous page-turner of a biography. Metaxas portrays Boenhoeffer in a very heroic manner. He clearly admires Boenhoeffer and his life's work. It is not hard to see why, though his lack of criticism is the most striking failure in the book. Metaxas is an outstanding writer--throughout the book he enlivens the history with his turns of phrase and witty style.

The Boenhoeffer that Metaxas portrays is the kind of man that a good modern-day American
...more
Matthew Lindell
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are few books that come along that are so powerful as to tilt the direction of your life. This is one of them. There were a number of significant themes that are critical for Christian of the 21st century to understand and not repeat the mistakes of the 20th.

Liberal Theology - The German church of the day was stepping away from the orthodox roots of Christianity and divorcing Jesus from the scriptures. Seminaries got lost in cold academics and lost sight of the hope of the gospel. Bonhoeff
...more
Lisa
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliantly written biography of a true Christian hero, martyr, and saint--if Lutherans canonized saints, Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be among the first, although he would deny that he deserved it. Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in Germany when Hitler came to power and was part of the Resistance (including the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler). He was from a brilliant and aristocratic family, scientists on his father's side and theologians on his mother's side, and he became a theologian a ...more
William
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
From the start, it appears that this book, despite its length, will be most interesting and an easy read, similar to John Adams which I have recently reviewed.

At the end of the book, I have a love for this man that I could not have imagined from the beginning. A true Christian, in belief, word, action.

It was good to learn about the resistance to Hitler's regime from within Germany itself. And of course, many of these people paid with their lives, and others were aware that that could be the cost
...more
Peter
The text was acceptable, readable like a knife through warm butter. But the front cover endorsements and the back pages ‘Study Guide’ firmly place this work in the polemic sphere. In particular, the writers of the Study Guide encourage readers to see the parallels between modern America and Hitler's Germany. I wonder what the good pastor would think of all this. I am sure the Study Guide authors are certain they know.

The good pastor, though, may have disagreed with them. It is true that in ‘The
...more
Philip
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Over the past few years this reviewer has encountered few works outside of the Holy Writ that are able to accomplish such a profound effect on the heart. There were moments where the deepest of emotions were evoked and a profound empathy was extended to the likable scholar turned pastor who devoted his life to what he knew to be right. Metaxas provides the reader with an in-depth look at the life of one of the great saints of modern Christendom, who with the progenitor of the faith of his father ...more
Marialyce
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
While I did admire the man and the book, I did find in the middle that I skimmed the information. There was a glut of information on the back and forthing of the Christian church and its stance with Hitler which was to say the least infuriating. Bonhoeffer and some others stood up for the true logical Christian way and went against Hitler' teachings and ideology. He was a brilliant man from a prestigious, intellectual German family who used his brilliance to wage a war of right and words against ...more
Sally Ewan
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
A very interesting book about an interesting man. I appreciate hearing about people who lived through Hitler's reign and saw him for what he really was. Bonhoeffer was a brave and determined man with great focus. The German church at that time was a mess, but it was sad to read about the liberal theology weakening American Christianity also.

Metaxas' writing style was jarring. He tended to throw in colorful phrases that derailed my concentration rather than enhancing the narrative. For instance,
...more
Amy
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, bio, faith
I had some pretty high expectations for Bonhoeffer and, remarkably, it lived up to them. Bonhoeffer is great not only because it is the story of the pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but also because it incorporates WW2 history, theology, and basically the story of Germany in the early twentieth century all at the same time. It may be thick but it is worth it. I especially enjoyed learning more about he conspiracy to assassinate Hitler...it is crazy how many times he escaped death.
The writing occasio
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The Cost of Discipleship
  • Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis
  • A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards
  • Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just
  • The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce (Swans Are Not Silent, #3)
  • A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael
  • Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows
  • Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
  • Augustine of Hippo: A Biography
  • Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom
  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith
  • The Life and Diary of David Brainerd
  • To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson
852 followers
In a decidedly eclectic career, Eric Metaxas has written for VeggieTales, Chuck Colson, Rabbit Ears Productions and the New York Times, four things not ordinarily in the same sentence. He is a best-selling author whose biographies, children’s books, and works of popular apologetics have been translated into more than 25 languages.
More about Eric Metaxas

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99
“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will.” 366 likes
“Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic. Do not defend God's word, but testify to it. Trust to the Word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of its capacity. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer” 71 likes
More quotes…