The story of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s brief but notable life is related in the context of his resistance to the Nazis and association with the 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
McCormick discusses formative experiences that shaped Bonhoeffer’s theological views: visiting St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, studying with such influential American theologians as Frank Fisher and Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological Seminary, worshipping at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and his friendship with Rabbi Stephen Wise. Bonhoeffer’s resistance to Hitler intensified with the systematic persecution of Jews and the co-option of the German Church. In protest, Bonhoeffer co-founded the Pastor’s Emergency League and, later, the breakaway Confessing Church. As a member of an organized conspiracy to overthrow Hitler, Bonhoeffer was a courier and spy passing information to Allied representatives about Nazi atrocities and resistance activities. He was executed in 1945 for his involvement. Novelist McCormick pens a gripping narrative, adeptly developing Bonhoeffer’s character and exploring his struggle to reconcile his pacifism with being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Some subjects, such as the Confessing Church and figures like Pastor Martin Niemöller, warrant further explanation, however.
This insightful, compelling account is an excellent introduction to Bonhoeffer and a perceptive look at what makes someone stand up for what’s right. (photos, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Biography. 11-14)