One of my favorite authors and friend, Eric Metaxas, has written another exceptional book entitled, “7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness.” On occasion, Eric ever so graciously shares my own writing on social media so I want to attempt to repay his kindness with this review of his latest book.
Before I begin my review, I first need to explain a little about what kind of writer Metaxas is. The best way to describe his writing is to picture him at a table with any one of his bestselling books or biographies wide open and reading it out loud. The words he writes comes alive in story form and invites everyone to pull up a chair and listen.
Metaxas lets the characters of the story do the talking while we engage and become inspired by their lives. We often forget that Metaxas is penning the words while we become enthralled in the lives of great people like William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and now the seven heroines in his latest book. It takes a certain humility, as a writer, to take a backseat to the characters you write about. Metaxas does this brilliantly.
Although Metaxas leans to the conservative right and has shared his personal testimony as a bible believing Christian, he invites people of all walks of life–both spiritually and politically–to his table. In fact, this is what is most appealing about him as a writer. He never proselytizes but has a unique way of letting the books he writes speak for themselves.
7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness, shares the lives of seven females throughout history who were all very different but shared one characteristic that made them great. They were women who served others and led lives of self-sacrifice.
This characteristic did not stem from any feminist movement, derived out of any struggle in the advancement of women over men. In fact, the women in this book embraced relationships with men that aided them in their cause and life’s work.
Metaxas chose these women not because they stood in the place of what a man could do but for how uniquely they were created as females. “When I consider the seven women I chose, I see that most of them 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 with men,” he writes in his introduction.
How different to find great women of virtue, character, and greatness without the modern-day context of competition or a “man’s world” stigma.
Yet, these women (who I won’t name for it is best left to the reader) share many of the same titles that are often deemed great in our society today among women. There’s a soldier, a social activist, a writer, a civil rights demonstrator, a homeschooling mother, a holocaust survivor, an eccentric nun, and a well-known mother to the world.
But here’s where their stories differ greatly against our modern-day backdrop of great women; their greatness came from their self-sacrifice not from a self-importance of power or status. The “secret” of these 7 women is they let humility be their guide in life. They gave up so much of themselves to serve others and for a greater cause beyond who they were as women.
Through these historic women, Metaxas reminds us that greatness looks nothing like modern-day popularity. In fact, greatness resembles what we already know from scripture and what Christ taught us through his life on earth. “The greatest among you will be your servant,” Jesus said. (Matthew 23:11)
These 7 women lived out their lives in acts of charity that redefines “female empowerment.” As the great Alice Von Hildebrand wrote in one my favorite books, The Privilege of being a woman, “We shall be judged not according to our performance in the secular world, but according to our humility and charity.”
As we sit around the table of his latest book, 7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness, Metaxas invites both women and men to learn about the lives of seven extraordinary women. It is a book that opens a discussion in our modern world about what defines a great woman.
I would also recommend it to young men and women. It is the kind of book that I want my teenage daughters to read. It’s a conversation I want my daughters to be a part of in a world that constantly preaches baseless misogyny.
I was greatly moved and inspired by these 7 women and thankful that Eric Metaxas invited me to sit at his table with his latest book. These women remind me what greatness looks like and what value humility and charity can have on the world.