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The Power of Biography

February 22, 2016

Author Eric Metaxas has found a wonderful niche in the publishing field with his focus on biography. His mammoth work on Bonhoeffer  was not only inspiring but well received igniting a hunger for more life stories that inspire and educate in virtue and character. In answer to that call for more heroes and fewer celebrities in the church and history both ancient and modern Metaxas wrote, 7 Men and The Secret of Their Greatness (2013, Thomas Nelson). I am slightly suspicious of any book that has “secret” in the title with the exception of The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. With great gratitude I found that the 7 stories were presented powerfully and never degenerated into simplistic moralizing their life lesson but they were allowed to speak on their own through the narrative.  The selection of individules is diverse and in some ways unexpected. The first chapter begins with George Washington his life is interesting but I found little new in the well written essential overview of his life. William Wilberforce was likewise a review as he has been a subject of reading focus for me in the last couple of years but it would be an interesting introduction for someone just getting to know this great man. The subject of Eric Liddell of CHARIOTS OF FIRE fame was the focus of chapter three and I expected more of the same but I was completely wrong the majority of the material was  brand new to me and left me inspired and humbled. I found the movie of his Olympic decisions to be amazing but the events following his departure to China made his record setting running exploits pale in comparison. This chapter was worth the cost of the book. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was another well written introduction to the man which should inspire the reading of the fuller treatment by Metaxas if it has not already taken place. The chapters on Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II and Chuck Colson were a bit like the Eric Liddell chapter, I know generally the outline of their lives but  was unaware of much of the powerful details that made their lives so impact full on the world and the cause of Christ. I am not only more informed after reading this book but a slightly better person as I reflect and understand the heroism illustrated and then applied in daily life. This is a book to buy read, read aloud and share with all you know and love that they may grow in grace!

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