- Product Review (submitted on January 13, 2016):
My bias - I'm British and I studied history.
It feels like the author was not going to let historical facts get in the way of a good narrative.
The German resistance achieved little of any value, which is why the British were not interested in it. The German resistance could have and should have done more to stop the holocaust, but they were reluctant to attack their own side. They contributed little to the defeat of Nazism. Stauffenberg bungled the plot. He had the access to kill Hitler but would not pull the trigger.
When White Rose organisation was prepared to take a real stand against Hitler, the British celebrated it. The British did not want Hitler killed because Hitler was seen as a liability to the Germans, he harmed the Nazi war effort - which is equally why some Germans wanted him killed. The British believed that the only way to rebuild Europe was for Germany to be totally defeated but not destroyed. It is difficult not to argue that history proves them right.
Churchill spoke about liberating the Germans, and even praised Rommel. Rommel thought killing Hitler (the plot to kill Hitler is ultimately why Bonhoeffer was killed) would make Hitler a martyr and was counter-productive. This is why the British were not interested.
The story does not confront how the idol worship of the ideal of Germany led to WW2, and that the German church's guilt in this.
The madness of Bonhoeffer's students fighting the very people who were actually trying to end Nazism, and killing their Christian brothers and participating in atrocities to preserve their lives and the inconsistency of this with the Christian faith is glossed over.
The problem is our spiritual enrichment is based on truth, and therefore I found myself more disturbed than edified. Bonhoeffer is interesting and at times insightful, but this book concerned me.
Also Bonhoeffer's contribution could have been greater if rather than going home because he was home sick, he had waited the war out and helped to rebuild Germany. A living sacrifice would have been more useful.
Saying all that for all Bonhoeffer's failings, we have to ask ourselves how much are we prepared to follow Christ rather than the Spirit of the times. In that atmosphere Bonhoeffer sincerely tried to do his best.
We must always follow Christ, and be very wary of making an idol out of our nation. There are lots of lessons to learn from Bonhoeffer.