Children need role models of godly character and recognizable accomplishments to imitate. In our celebrity-crazed culture there is a dearth of such figures, but in the history of the Church there is enough to fill several books. Which is what authors as diverse as Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Steve Wilkins and David Vaughan have done—written biographies of famous men of faith, that is, focusing on their virtues as much as the details of their (often equally fascinating) lives.
Each volume of the Leaders in Action series includes three sections. The first is a brief biography outlining key points in the subject's life. The second section discusses several virtues the subject exhibited, devoting a chapter to each and offering examples, quotes and excerpts that evidence the virtue as well as the subject's personal views concerning it. The third deals with the subject's legacy in history, the Church and as a cultural icon, and ends on an inspirational note.
Figures covered range from Patrick Henry and Winston Churchill to Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. There are military heroes, political leaders, pastors, patriots and artists represented, each of them chosen for the greatness of their character, not just the greatness of their temporal achievements (great as those often were). These aren't merely glowing portraits, though—character flaws are recognized and not explained away, though for the most part subjects are chosen whose virtues outweighed any glaring vices.
George Grant acts as general editor of the series (as well as penning a couple of the titles). The quality of writing is superb throughout, and the different authors each bring their own style and perspective, so you aren't likely to get bored with repetition or a single writer constantly harping on the same pet issues. These are down-to-earth biographies intended to guide children toward the virtues that marked great Christian leaders of the past, and to foster a spirit of imitation. For in-depth treatments of the lives of these men you'll need to look elsewhere, but as celebrations of goodness and our godly heritage for younger readers these are unsurpassed.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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