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Extended Audio Sample Saints and Villains Audiobook, by Denise Giardina Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.04 out of 54.04 out of 54.04 out of 54.04 out of 54.04 out of 5 4.04 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Denise Giardina Narrator: Susan O’Malley Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2010 ISBN: 9781455174577
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In the charnel house that was Europe in the Second World War, there were few instances of shining moral courage, let alone secular sainthood. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and Nazi resister, was the exception. A true hero, he risked and finally lost his life through his participation in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler.

In this gripping, resonant novel, we witness the shaping of this emblematic figure through the events of his extraordinary life. Here is Bonhoeffer experiencing the awakening of his social conscience while witnessing racism in the United States; leading a breakaway church in Germany as the Nazis rise to power; entering a dangerous liaison with a Jewish woman; undertaking perilous clandestine meetings abroad under cover; and finally, living the dark night of the soul in prison.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Giardina manages the extremely difficult task of giving a known story genuine tension and spiritual resonance.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “High drama…Stirring adventure…To find a historical figure like Dietrich Bonhoeffer packaged in what is essentially a moral thriller is a surprising joy.”

    Boston Globe

  • “[Giardina] illuminates the web of moral decisions within which we all exist. A compelling, frightening, yet beautiful novel, written with passion, understanding, and eloquence.”

     

    Booklist

  • “[Giardina] surpasses herself with this powerful re-creation…A big novel in every sense of the word, and a triumphant portrayal of one of the century’s authentic heroes.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “O’Malley’s semi-voiced narration is clear, expressive, and suited to this fictionalized biography…Differentiating among the characters by changing the pitch of her voice rather than trying to assume a variety of accents, she gives the text a good pace and sustains the listener’s interest.”

    Kliatt

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 2/8/2014

    " Interesting account of man trying to do the right thing in Germany during WW2. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 1/19/2014

    " A novel, with some invented characters as well as historical ones, this is a wonderful book to help understand life in Germany in the 1930's and '40's and before, and to look at issues that religious people were working with "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee White | 1/2/2014

    " Very very good. I am captivated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie | 12/28/2013

    " Gripping, fascinating historical novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 12/27/2013

    " OK, a novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer might not be everybody's idea of a good time, but I thought presented a viable fictionalization of his life and character growth. The author created another major character, a Nazi commandant, whose life intersects with Bonhoeffer's at various points. I thought it succeeded both as fiction and as ... hmmm .... historical rumination. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 12/7/2013

    " Novel on Dietrich Bonhoffer an internally tortured "pastor" during Hitler's rise to power in Germany. His activities and struggles with the times are agonizing and the year in prison ending it all was a sad relief. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rhoda | 11/21/2013

    " An excellent book on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rich | 7/23/2013

    " One small persons attempts to resist Nazi insanity. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephen | 7/1/2013

    " Great man in bad time. I found the writer got bogged down and wished she concentrated on the important aspects of his life. Kinda disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geoff | 6/28/2013

    " Very interesting historical novel about the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marvin | 6/25/2013

    " An excellent novel based on the life of Deitrich Bonhoeffer. It's a well-told, powerful story, true to the complexity of the situation & sensitive to theological nuance. One of my all-time favorites. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela Trawick | 6/1/2013

    " Dietrich Bonhoeffer's, the German theologian and Nazi resister, story fictionalized. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 5/10/2013

    " Had never read too much about Bonhoeffer. This is a work of fiction but a great read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane Kaplowitz | 6/25/2011

    " This is my all time favorite book about the plight of the jewish people in world war II and Dietrich Bonhoeffer's (Chrisian theologian and martyr)effort to help overturn the Nazi regime which cost him his life. Written as historical fiction, but the main story line is based on fact. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janie | 6/16/2011

    " This is a fascinating historical fiction. Great insight into Nazi Germany and how horrible events mold people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Toni Blessing | 6/5/2011

    " Brillant historical novel. Giardina's masterpiece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 4/12/2010

    " Very very good. I am captivated. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Arbkdbarb | 8/26/2009

    " Hated it - couldn't finish it. I finally got within 100 pages of the end and just couldn't force any more on myself.

    This was a bookclub selection and the concensus was unanimous! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 8/15/2009

    " Novel on Dietrich Bonhoffer an internally tortured "pastor" during Hitler's rise to power in Germany. His activities and struggles with the times are agonizing and the year in prison ending it all was a sad relief. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephen | 2/1/2009

    " Great man in bad time. I found the writer got bogged down and wished she concentrated on the important aspects of his life. Kinda disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rich | 11/25/2008

    " One small persons attempts to resist Nazi insanity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne | 7/15/2008

    " A biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Profound. Thoughtful. Not always an easy read. Are there similarities to pre-WWII Germany and the US in 2008? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rhoda | 6/2/2008

    " An excellent book on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie | 4/18/2008

    " Gripping, fascinating historical novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phyllis | 3/22/2008

    " Story from birth to end of life of a theologian living through WWII, the choices he made about how to respond to the Nazi regime. I really enjoyed the book, but the print was tiny and put me to sleep quickly at night. "

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About the Author
Author Denise Giardina

Denise Giardina, the author of three previous novels, teaches at West Virginia State College in Charleston, West Virginia. She is a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.

About the Narrator

Susan O’Malley (a.k.a. Bernadette Dunne) is the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.