A Spy Novel or a Graphical Biography or Both?

Yes, it is a biography. Yes, it is about a spy. Yes, it is about a theologian-preacher-minister.

Does John Hendrix in his graphical presentation of the life of Dietrich Bonhoffer, The Faithful Spy, attempt too much? No! Absolutely Not!

This is a wonderful introduction to Bonhoeffer’s life and work. And, yes, also the sacrifice of his life.

If you are unfamiliar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer this is the perfect way to become familiar.

The work is reportedly aimed for youth from about ages 10 – 14, but that may be all the more reason it can be put in the hands of all of us to need to know about or be reminded who Bonhoffer was and what he was willing to die for.

Hendrix tells the story of Bonhoeffer growing up in a privileged family in Germany, his early interest in theology (despite his family’s concerns about such), his musical skills, his love of his family and his country, his travels to the USA, his encounter with American racism, his loyalty to Germany, his struggles with a state church eventually controlled by the Nazi war machine, his time as teacher of “rebellious” preachers and his eventual work with the German resistance during World War II.

And no, the above are not soilers for you. While those are some of the basic facts of his life, you have no idea of how John Hendrix tells the story in great graphics till you pick up this book and start reading it and looking at the wonderfully drawn pages. Hendrix tells the story with line and even more so with color. You need to spend time on each page so you can absorb the wonderfully drawn images, but that will be a problem. He tells the story so well and so compellingly you will want to rush to the next page.

Is this one those, “You can’t put it down” kind of books. It was for me, and I know the story of Bonhoeffer and have read a fair amount of Bonhoeffer’s writings.

Now I want to spend more time with Bonhoeffer and also with Hendrix’s other books. It is not enough to say he is an accomplished award winning illustrator. He knows how to tell a story that keeps the reader ready to turn the next page to see what happens next.

After finishing the book, I have started making a list of who to get copies to. In our age of pandemic and political turmoil we need the witness of Bonhoeffer and this illustrated biography would be a great place to start. Buy a copy of the print edition, get an ebook, check it out of your public library (my public library, Mobile Public Library in Mobile, Alabama, has several print copies and links to the Hoopla ebook). But, by all means get the book, read it, consider what Bonhoeffer was willing to do as a “Faithful” spy and a thorough-going “man of God.”

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

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