Thursday, April 2, 2015

Seven Men {a BookLook Blogger review}

I tend to have a pretty good idea as to what I'm getting myself into when I request a book for review.  I've read at least one other book by Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer) and I enjoyed his writing there.

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness still surprised me.

It shouldn't have, I suppose, as the publisher's description is quite accurate.  Here, you can read it for yourself:
In Seven Men, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas presents seven exquisitely crafted short portraits of widely known-but not well understood-Christian men, each of whom uniquely showcases a commitment to live by certain virtues in the truth of the gospel.

Written in a beautiful and engaging style, Seven Men addresses what it means (or should mean) to be a man today, at a time when media and popular culture present images of masculinity that are not the picture presented in Scripture and historic civil life.

Each of the seven biographies represents the life of a man who experienced the struggles and challenges to be strong in the face of forces and circumstances that would have destroyed the resolve of lesser men. Each of the seven men profiled-George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson-call the reader to a more elevated walk and lifestyle, one that embodies the gospel in the world around us.
Now, I expected to enjoy the book.  I thought I might suggest that Connor (my 17-year-old) might want to consider picking up the book to read too.

I didn't expect to decide that my teens had to read it.

In fact, I'm starting over and reading it out loud to them.  Because I'm more than happy to go through the material again.

Let's talk George Washington, the first profile in the book.  Metaxas makes it clear that he placed Washington first because he had decided to go chronologically.  But.  But if he had chosen another order, he would have put Washington first because, "When it comes to true greatness, Washington's tough to beat."  That is a glowing sentiment.

It doesn't mean, however, that nothing negative is said about Washington.  Metaxas points out some behavior from fairly early in Washington's military career that isn't emulation-worthy, and comments on more than one occasion about Washington's flaws.

You finish the brief 30-page biography, however, with a solid picture of who George Washington really was, though, and why Metaxas rates him so highly.

These are exactly the kinds of biographies I want my older children to be reading.  Not rosy, overly positive hero worship biographies.  Not overly critical, beating them up based on some weird standard of today biographies.  But biographies that show what normal, flawed people can become and can accomplish. And in a form that is short enough that we can add it to the schedule of a too-busy teen.

I hope Metaxas writes more titles like this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No comments: