Each of the 10 short biographies contained in this book is written by a different author. Some names were familiar to me like Jane Austen, John Bunyan, D. L. Moody, George Washington Carver, and Saint Patrick. Others, like Anne Bradstreet and William F. Buckley Jr., I had not read much about before. I love that the biographies are not just focused on the “great things” these godly men and women did, but present the other parts of their lives as equally important. I particularly enjoyed reading about Anne Bradstreet, the first published poet from America. She did not set out to be a published poet, but focused on serving the family God gave her. The beautiful words she wrote flowed out of her gratefulness for the simple blessings God gave her each day.
The stories are not laid out chronologically, but rather topically. I found this confusing and hard to follow at times. For example, in Jane Austen’s chapter there is a section about her siblings. We are first introduced to James, the oldest, then George, the second son, then Edward, the third. Francis and Charles (both navy men) are mentioned next (birth order is not specifically mentioned, but I discovered eventually that they were the seventh and ninth Austen children). Henry, the fourth son, was apparently Jane’s favorite brother, but she was closest to her one sister (fifth child, I think). Confused? I was.
After reading the first biography, I hoped that the confusing chronology was caused by that particular author. This was not the case. I found it to be a consistent issue across the board.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I love biography, and I learned a lot from this collection. That said, I would not recommend it to just anyone. I find that unfortunate, given the title (10 Christians Everyone Should Know). This is a book for people who are already accustomed to reading biographies and other books that require concentration. It isn’t a book I would pick up when at all tired or distracted.
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