Saturday, February 15, 2014
Would You Do What They Did? by William Dean Hamilton
History holds remarkable lessons for us if we'll dare to explore it's depths. Sometimes the lessons can challenge us, pain us, amuse us or inspire us. But, ultimately, we have to be willing not just to learn from the lessons of the past, but to allow the principles contained in the stories of ages gone to be those we act upon and emulate in our lives. And author William Dean Hamilton addresses that issue directly in the very title and contents of his most recent book, Would You Do What They Did?
This book is a look at the lives of four great Christian figures, but presented in a rather unique way. Rather than simply list the facts of their lives, Mr. Hamilton tells about each of their lives in the form of a story (similar to fiction novels) that includes the details. Other characters from the leader's life are introduced in each dramatic tale, and it gives the reader more of a personal approach to the story being told. And this allows one to think to them selves "Would I do what they did?".
The historical figures highlighted in the book include St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Beckett, John Wesley and Martin Luther. All of them accomplished great things in the name of God. but, more than those accomplishments, they were often criticized, ridiculed, thought to be mad, and even put to death in one case. Their courage in the face of opposition can clearly be seen, but their humanity that we often forget is clearly revealed also.
I liked the book, but fond some things that I would have preferred to see presented differently. For one, some of the "characters" in the stories and even a few details themselves that are presented did not actually exist. And while I am glad the writer tells us which ones at the end of each chapter, it made it hard to tell fact from fiction. I also would have preferred a little more detail about their lives and what shaped their disposition, though he does address it a little bit.
I received this book for free through the book review program for bloggers from www.bookcrash.com and the view expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. You may purchase this book at www.barnesandnoble.com. Should you decide to read this book, I hope that you will learn from history and in this case perhaps not do exactly the things they did, but do your own exploits for God for many of the same reasons that they did them.