“In my humble estimation, the men in this book are some of the greatest men who have ever lived. So if you get to know their stories, your life will be immeasurably richer.”
Some of the greatest stories are not well known. Many people live spectacular lives, but it’s only after they die that the details are discovered. They don’t announce their deeds or desire fame. Our world would not be the same without their actions, though.
In 7 Men and the Secret to their Greatness, Eric Metaxas explores the lives of seven men who changed the world during their lifetimes, even if they didn’t know it. Metaxas picks George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II and Charles W. Colson for this book. Each biography is succinct, but explores why they lived lives of note.
I learned a lot about history and these men’s lives by reading this book. I knew a lot about Washington, Bonhoeffer and Colson, but not a lot about the other four. Washington gave up a kingship for the sake of his country. Wilberforce shared his faith and fought for an end to slavery when neither were popular. Liddell gave up a chance to win an Olympic race to hold on to his values. Bonhoeffer went back to Germany to help the Jews when he could have stayed safe in America. Pope John Paul II was a man who acted upon his faith until the end. Colson turned being a felon into a ministry to help other people in jail.
I was really struck most by Jackie Robinson’s story. He had to be able to suffer through severe racism without striking back. He was a phenomenal baseball player and ended up bringing more people together by being willing to be the first African-American professional baseball player. The most touching part was that he felt a heart attack coming on and rushed to hug his wife and tell her he loved her before collapsing and dying.
I highly recommend this book. You can easily read a chapter and then put it down for a while until you’re ready to read the next one. I will caution that it might make you want to read longer and more in-depth biographies of these men. It would be a good read for anyone in high school or older.
I shared this review with CatholicMom.com’s Open Book Link at My Scribbler’s Heart.