Craig Harline – A World Ablaze

October 2017 marks 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg and launched the Protestant Reformation. At least, that’s what the legend says. But with a figure like Martin Luther, who looms so large in the historical imagination, it’s hard to separate the legend from the life, or even sometimes to separate assorted legends from each other. Over the centuries, Luther the man has given way to Luther the icon, a polished bronze figure on a pedestal.

In A World Ablaze, Craig Harline introduces us to the flesh-and-blood Martin Luther. Harline tells the riveting story of the first crucial years of the accidental crusade that would make Luther a legendary figure. He didn’t start out that way; Luther was a sometimes-cranky friar and professor who worried endlessly about the fate of his eternal soul. He sought answers in the Bible and the Church fathers, and what he found distressed him even more – the way many in the Church had come to understand salvation was profoundly wrong, thought Luther, putting millions of souls, not least his own, at risk of damnation. His ideas would pit him against numerous scholars, priests, bishops, princes, and the Pope, even as others adopted or adapted his cause, ultimately dividing the Church against itself. A World Ablaze is a tale not just of religious debate but of political intrigue, of shifting alliances and daring escapes, with Luther often narrowly avoiding capture, which might have led to execution. The conflict would eventually encompass the whole of Christendom and served as the crucible in which a new world was forged.

The Luther we find in this audiobook is not a statue to be admired but a complex figure – brilliant and volatile, fretful and self-righteous, curious and stubborn. Harline brings out the immediacy, uncertainty, and drama of his story, giving listeners a sense of what it felt like in the moment, when the ending was still very much in doubt. The result is a masterful recreation of a momentous turning point in the history of the world.

Author: Craig Harline
Narrator: Bob Souer
Duration: 10 hours 51 minutes
Released: 18 Apr 2009
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

wailing untrained

As hard as I tried I could not remember the name of every Cabinet Minister, Lord, Baron, et al plus every battleship and minelayer involved in this fiasco.

Churchill will lose a notch or two on your admiration scale after you read about the long term consequences of his overly daring, ill-conceived, disastrous plan.

Churchill has been credited with coining the phrase An Iron Curtain has descended across Europe after WW II ended. Churchills campaign as Lord of the Admiralty during WW I contributed significantly to the rise of Communism as the Russians had to cede massive amounts of land to Germany for peace, giving the Red army a free hand to destroy the White army allowing communism to thrive.

If you do get this book DO NOT miss the epilogue, it is an eye opener.