I don’t read many biographies. I tend to read more didactic non-fiction. And so, when I had the opportunity to read Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas, I jumped at the chance to fill this hole in my reading repertoire. I wouldn’t just read one biography, I would read seven!
Seven Men briefly reviews the lives of George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson. These men are a pretty diverse group but they share, at least, two things in common: They were bold in their Christian faith and they were willing to endure significant personal sacrifice for the sake of a greater good.had the opportunity to read Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas, I jumped at the chance to fill this hole in my reading repertoire. I wouldn’t just read one biography, I would read seven!
The beauty of Seven Men is that it teaches great content (boldness, courage, sacrifice, obedience, conviction, compassion, faith, etc.) without ever having to exhort the readers to those virtues. It simply tells the stories of the lives of great men. The stories are interesting and compelling and the men, though not perfect, are worthy of emulation. Metaxas argues in the introduction that we need to recapture the idea of having heroes and the virtues he emphasizes in these seven men all point us to our greatest hero, Jesus Christ.
The brevity of this work, combined with the fact that it covers seven different individuals, means that for each of the men featured the reader only gets a brief character sketch, just enough for Metaxas to draw out those virtues that the men share in common. Certainly, more detailed biographies can be found elsewhere. Two of the best chapters, those on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce, are those for which Metaxas himself has written full length biographies. I also found the chapters on Liddell and Robinson particularly interesting, in large part because I knew precious little of their stories.
If you’re interested in biographies, but are relatively new to them, this might be a good place to start. The chapters are brief, readable, and interesting. You’ll be impressed by the men feature and, hopefully, inspired to follow in their courage and sacrifice.
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