The first half of this book was really dry and I was tempted to give up and move on to more interesting reads. The second half of the book was somewhat less dry and I enjoyed finding out some things about Luther’s life. The bottom line to the whole thing? I wouldn’t bother (I’ve had several books like this in 2018, haven’t I? It’s not been a great year for reading).
The first half of the book went into great detail about his doctrinal journey. That’s important stuff, but it doesn’t make for compelling reading. The second half was more biographical and more interesting. The overall experience, however, was pretty Sahara-like. I’ve not read any other biographies of Luther, but if you’re looking for one I think I’d look somewhere else. Or you could develop a little better attention span than I have and enjoy the book more.
By the way, I’m not the only one who found the book less than gripping. Here’s an actual review on Amazon meant to promote the book:
Herman Selderhuis gives a well-organized, source-based short account of Luther’s life, putting him into his context. Written by one of the most respected international scholars in Reformation history, this book may be fruitfully used as an introduction to Luther’s life.
—Volker Leppin, theologian and professor of church history, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen; president, Interdisciplinary Medieval Association
Makes you want to run out and buy it, doesn’t it? That’s a PROMOTIONAL review.
One nugget I did glean from the book – did you know Luther didn’t really nail his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg? He likely gave it to an official at the church to be posted on a public board at the church. Apparently they didn’t nail things on the door – that’s not how things were publicized. Now you have something to impress your friends with at your next cocktail party.