Book Review: Seven Women: And the secrets of their greatness, by Eric Metaxas
In 2013, I was introduced to Eric Metaxas inspiring book, Seven Men: And the secrets of their greatness. In this volume, I read about several men I was unfamiliar with. I found the book both informative and challenging.
Metaxas has now written a companion volume profiling seven women of high character and leadership. He makes it clear in the introduction that he is not trying to compare the women to the men. Rather, he chose women who
… were great for reasons that derive precisely from their being women, not in spite of it; and what made them great has nothing to do with their being measured against or competing against men. In other words, their accomplishments are not gender-neutral but are rooted in their singularity as women. All of them existed and thrived as women …
The seven women he profiles are women of great leadership in Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions of faith. All of them believed in the realistic presence of Jesus Christ in daily life.
Joan of Arc – As a teenager, Joan of Arc heard God’s command and led the French army to a mighty victory over the British. Joan’s innocence, purity, and holiness helped make it possible for her to do what she did. Her vulnerability and womanly virtue stunned and inspired the rough soldiers in a way that no man ever could do.
Susanna Wesley – Much of the dramatic social advances of the nineteenth century came as a result of the unprecedented outpouring of faith during the Wesleyan Revival, led by the brothers John and Charles Wesley. While their evangelism and service to the poor, disenfranchised and hopeless changed the world, their lives were shaped by the woman who raised them.
Hannah More – Hannah More was a best-selling playwright and author, a woman of boundless charm that everyone wished to be in her society. As a contemporary, friend, and collaborator with William Wilberforce, she played a crucial role in the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
Saint Maria of Paris – Saint Maria was the one I had not heard of previously. She was canonized by the Orthodox Church in 2004. Born in Latvia and raised in Russia, she was considered to be a radical nun whose life “remains an indictment of any form of Christianity that seeks Christ chiefly inside the walls of our churches.” She challenged the Orthodox Church “to serve Jesus Christ with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and body—that is to be the church of Jesus Christ.”
Corrie ten Boom – Corrie ten Boom is probably the best known of Metaxas’ profiles. She risked her life to hide Dutch Jews from the Nazis in World War II and somehow survived the horrors of a concentration camp. Years later, she survived her greatest challenge—forgiving one of the prison guards who tormented her.
Rosa Parks – Considered the mother of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks’ God-given sense of justice and unshakable dignity helped launch the twentieth century’s greatest social movement.
Mother Teresa – Mother Teresa is also a well-known figure best known for her commitment to live out the commands of Christ: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. She deliberately made some of the poorest people on earth her nearest neighbors.
Like his previous book, the brief biographies of these women are well written and inspiring. They whet one’s appetite for a longer book on each person. The book would be a great gift for a high school or college graduate and would hopefully inspire a young woman to pursue greatness through sacrifice and service.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.