Adam Shields's Reviews > Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
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's review
Mar 30, 2010

really liked it

Full review at

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 review. They were descriptive, but distracting. On the whole though, this was a great biography and if you have any interest in Bonhoeffer you should pick it up.

After a couple years, all of the digital ink spilled about the accuracy and more reading here are my modified thoughts. I think this is worth reading. It is very readable and the majority of it is worth reading. But there are issues with Metaxas trying to make Bonhoeffer into a modern US Evangelical. On the whole, if you have the money I would suggest that you buy and read Ferdinand Schlingensiepen's biography "Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945" My review

The problem with that biography is that it is expensive. I got it on a one day sale and it is way better than Metaxas biography. Schligensiepen is from Germany, knew and worked with many of the characters of Bonhoeffer's life and is a renowned Bonhoeffer scholar. Metaxas is none of those things. Metaxas is a decent writer and he has written a much needed popular biography of Bonhoeffer.
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Reading Progress

March 30, 2010 – Started Reading
March 30, 2010 – Shelved
June 10, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Bgordondavis You articuiated well what was in my mind.

message 2: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Having just finished this book, I am reading some past reviews. I know just what you mean about the strange descriptions being distracting. I didn't know whether to laugh or grimace and chose not even to try to describe this in my brief review. I also went back and forth between 4 and 5 stars for the same reason, ultimately going with 5.

Martha Yes, the Dan Ratherisms, they bugged me too!

Kester Only a couple of chapters in. Love the book. Hate the Ratherisms. He uses the word highfalutin, at one point.

Adam Shields Seriously! He wants to be taken seriously as a scholar, but says highfalutin!

Kester I am glad to know that I'm not the only one who found this distracting. I am sad to hear that it continues throughout the book.

Adam Shields A good editor could have made this a much better book. I am disappointed that Thomas Nelson didn't insist. But then I read his bio on Wiberforce after I read this. This is much better than the Wilberforce bio.

Mike Almost done and I've been thinking about how I would describe the "creative" language that has been bothering me in this otherwise good biography. I just stumbled across this review and your coining of the term "Dan Ratherisms." Awesome. Thanks! :)

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