Title: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: In the Midst of Wickedness
Author: Janet & Geoff Benge
Series: Christian Heroes: Then & Now
Major Themes: World War I, World War II
Synopsis: As a Christian theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was faced with a dilemma: Was it right to kill Hitler to save the lives of millions of other people?
I first ran across the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series of biographies some 15 years ago, when I ran a small bookstore. By the time I sold the bookstore, I had probably 20 of the (now) 42 titles in stock, and had read them all. As most of you know, a series tends to decline in quality after the first few books, but this series has not as far as I’m concerned. The latest ones I read were just as gripping as the earliest. They seem to present the facts quite accurately, as well. I’ve read various books about a number of the people covered in these books, and what I’ve read by the Benges lines up with what I read elsewhere.
I just read Dietrich Bonhoeffer: In the Midst of Wickedness aloud to my family. A lot of controversy has surrounded the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer since he died, and since a man in our church used Dietrich as an example in a sermon a good while ago, my husband has been curious about him. We found the story of Dietrich’s life quite interesting. His family lived in Germany and he experienced World War I as a young man, and then grew up during the time between the wars. Germany was treated very harshly by the Allies after World War I, and suffered greatly. The people of Germany were desperate for a strong leader and relief from poverty and unrest, so when Adolf Hitler rose to power, he was accepted by most people as a solution to their problems. The Bonhoeffer family was leery from the start, and soon saw that Hitler was not the answer—but what could they do to stem the tide of evil?
Dietrich did all he could to encourage the church to stand against compromise with Hitler and the Nazis. After World War II began he joined the Resistance while working in a government office. One plot after another to take Hitler’s life and end the war failed, however, and eventually Dietrich was arrested.
One thing I really appreciated about Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the description of life in Germany during and between the wars. I’m not sure I’ve ever read another book that described it from that point of view.
WARNING: This is a story of war and the Nazis. Therefore, killings are mentioned at times, but never with explicit detail.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults