Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Seven Men - A Review

A Review

I first encountered Eric Metaxas last year as I read his abridged autobiography of Dietrich
Bonhoeffer.  I was pleased to have the opportunity to review another of his recent books.  I have not been disappointed.

After nicely presented “Introduction”, the book focuses on short biographical essays on seven men who have influenced western culture:

  1. George Washington
  2. William Wilberforce
  3. Eric Liddell
  4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  5. Jackie Robinson
  6. Pope John Paul II
  7. Charles W. Colson

Eric Metaxas claims that each of these men had character traits that allowed them to stand out in their in own lifetimes and to world in the years (and, in some cases, centuries) following their death.  

Using the biographies penned by the author, I would agree with his choices except for that of George Washington - a slave owner, a poor military leader for much of his life, and misleading statements made about his own life all contribute to my concerns.  He had traits that made him stand out (humility and leadership skills); but, given the picture of his life portrayed by Metaxas, George Washington does not compare to the other six  men examined in the book.  It is possible that Metaxas missed discussing the faults of the other six, but given the emphasis he gives to the faults of George Washington, his name does not belong with the other six.

My other concern is that the list of names is decidedly Western and European.  Given the international nature of the church, there must be African, Asian, and South American representatives that will have stood the test of time.  The author hints that more books may be coming in this series - perhaps they will cross the cultural boundaries avoided in this current book.

Despite these two concerns, the book was well worth the time I spent reading it over the past week.  The character traits represented by these seven men make each of them stand out in their own time and for all time.  The traits exhibited by these seven are well worth emulating by the men being raised to lead the next generation, as well as our own.  
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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