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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Luther (LCA School of Religion series) by Robert H. Fischer

Excellent beginner's history to Luther and his times

Fischer's book on the life and works of Luther is obviously intended to be a school-age biography of the great leader of the Reformation. I would suggest it for Middle or High School age students. Luther has several simple pencil illustrations spaced throughout the book that neither add nor detract from the text as a whole. This would also be an appropriate book for anyone new to Martin Luther or the Reformation.

Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Fischer starts by setting the scene for the reader. His description of life and politics in pre-Reformation is Europe is one of the best short summaries that this world history teacher has ever read. Fischer sets the scene wonderfully for the reader to understand Martin Luther and the magnitude of his demands for the Church to reform itself.

Fischer takes great care not to cast the Catholics as devils and Luther as an angel. All of Luther's warts are exposed (anti-semitism, etc.), but Fischer lingers longest on Luther's positive achievements and qualities. This is appropriate since those are the things that have had such a large influence on Western history.

Fischer includes lots of quotes from Luther and his contemporaries, letting them speak for themselves (and to his credit, Fischer doesn't overquote and just supply us with an endless string of long quotes, as some historians do).

The last 30 pages of the book are quotes and comments on Luther's teaching and writing about a number of topics, including "The Lord's Supper", "The Christian and his neighbors" and comments about what Luther really wanted to do when he begin the Reformation movement.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Luther.

Reviewed February 19, 2005.

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