Last year, I read Eric Metaxas’ book Bonhoeffer and was inspired by the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I was eager to read his next book 7 Men because Eric has a way of writing which uplifts the human spirit and in our current times I think everyone needs a dose of hope and inspiration. I know there are many reviews out there but writing from the perspective of a woman on a book of only men should be unique in itself.
You cannot read this book without first reading the Introduction. Metaxas introduces the book asking two simple questions, “What is a man and what makes a man great?” He describes the breakdown of manhood through history and the modern trend of questioning authority after controversial events such as the Vietnam War and Watergate. He mentions the breakdown of legitimate authority and heroic figures with the rewritten history of past men like George Washington, who are now viewed in a negative light. Metaxas contrasts God’s idea of manhood with society today. Today manhood is either portrayed as ego driven or emasculated by the idea that equality between the sexes cannot highlight men in strength. “The Bible says that God made us in his image, male and female, and it celebrates masculinity and femininity. And it celebrates the differences between them”, he notes.
So Metaxas chooses 7 men of greatness but not based on today’s idea of manhood. These are men whom not only showed strength but humility and all of them sacrificed something for a greater purpose. George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Chuck Colson are men of inspiration. They all understood that greatness comes from a higher calling and were driven by their faith. These men of courage relied on God’s strength to literally rewrite the evils of society like slavery, racism, tyranny and the Jewish holocaust.
As a woman who was born after the rise of the feminist movement, it is refreshing to read about the celebration of men. In a culture where women are often complaining and emasculating men to empower their own gender, it is wonderful to read a book that highlights the importance of men of character in our society. Eric Metaxas writes about seven men but he has a way of inspiring courage and greatness in both men and women. Reading about a man like Dietrich Bonhoeffer inspires me as a woman to stand up for what is right and to continue to rely on my faith for courage. These men demonstrate what true strength and moral character looks like. In a day where the leadership of both men and women seems lost by scandals, lies and the loss of moral values, 7 Men was a reprieve from the world around me. This book is a celebration of mankind and of heroism. It is a book about men that women will enjoy reading.