Non-Fiction titles often have awesome subtitles. This title, Martin Luther: A Biography for the People, could not have been better stated. It is a perfect selection of words, straight forward and to the point, an excellent description of what lies within the cover of this book. I love History. I enjoy Biography’s. Especially one such as this, written by Dyron Daughrity.
The breadth of information in so few pages speaks well of the man, Martin Luther, who was indeed a thrifty wordsmith himself. Daughrity does well to tackle the life of this man many credit for the reformation starting with his well-known ‘Ninety-Five Theses’, nailed to the door of the church on October 31, 1517, meant as an invitation for debate that never occurred yet stirred the minds of many. Luther learned quickly to use the newly invented printing press to his advantage. Had it not been for his understand or the new power of the press and his abilty to speak to the comman man he may have been a forgotten footnote as many others just before him or after. He used this new technology to his full advantage, changing our relationship with the word and religion he felt had been hijacked by men who had lost their way.
The book details both Martin Luther’s birth and childhood as he framed it and the more likely reality that helped develop and inspire this man of faith. We learn of his family history and a rich life full of inspiration and fallibility all men have. It takes us on a journey towards his enlightenment first as a University student studying law and his quick decision to become an Augustine monk followed by his disappointment and changing thoughts on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and his dissatisfaction with the men who were said to be chosen to lead it.
“I, too, was so foolish as to carry onions to Rome and bring back Garlic.” Such was Luther’s thoughts after entering the holy city with awe and leaving with a fractured vision of it, as Daughrity explains:
“Probably more than most, he was shocked and disturbed by what he had witnessed, and his ire was always directed precisely at the clergy, not at the city itself. In his view, the city had ben hijacked by people who had forsaken the truth.” – Dyron Daughrity, Martin Luther: A Biography for the People
From this point forward Luther became focused on trying to reform a faith he felt lost its way and did so with a vengeance towards anyone who dared speak against him. Luther was truly a brilliant man as well as a troubled and tortured soul who had a difficult relationship with his father and venom for many who dared speak against him. However, he was also a pastor to many and never ceased preaching or delivering sermons. He counseled and listened to many. Keeping his evolving thoughts on Scripture, specifically the Gospels, and Paul’s teachings, and the Psalms which spoke to his love of music.
Overall I found this to be a thoroughly educational as much as I enjoyed it. It is well told. It is unpretentious. It is a fair and balanced look at a complicated man in a difficult time. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the times, the man, the faith or any of the three individually.
I would like to thank the Abilene Christian University Press for the opportunity to read this through NetGalley. I will be purchasing a hard copy to rest on my library shelf.