Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold

“Crack! The sound of the starter’s pistol echoed around Colombes Stadium. The final of the 400 meters had begun. Eric Liddell lunged forward. The spikes on his black leather running shoes gripped the rolled cinder surface of the track. Puffs of gray cinders burst from under his shoes with each stride...”

Right from the opening paragraph, Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold, written by Janet and Geoff Benge, throws the reader into the action. With vivid and rousing storytelling, this well-written biography provides insights into life of Olympic gold champion Eric Liddell and the impact he had on others.

The book begins with one of Liddell’s most amazing triumphs—victory in an Olympic event he was not favored to win after being highly criticized by the media for refusing to run on Sunday. From there, the book backtracks to Liddell’s upbringing, chronicling first his childhood as an MK in china, then as a quiet, reserved boy in boarding school, and later as a rising sports star and national hero.

Interestingly enough, when Liddell proved to be a highly sought-after athlete, he was asked to speak about his faith. Though this was outside Eric’s comfort zone, he said, “I’ll do it. Tell me where you need me and when.” That one commitment opened many doors for Eric to reach hundreds of people with his testimony. Years later, he worked as a missionary in China. His self-sacrificing attitude, gentle character, and solid belief in God helped him endure the physical and mental challenges he faced.

What I Like: I’ll be blunt. I avoid reading biographies because the bore me. However, I LIKED THIS BOOK. The strong writing made it an easy read. Plus Eric Liddell’s story is incredibly powerful, inspiring, and humbling. What I found amazing was that Eric possessed all the qualities I look for in a fictional hero… but he was the real deal! I also appreciated how Eric used his prowess in athletics to build bridges between people. This is a great model of how to use our skills to serve God. I believe this book—and likely all the books in this series—would be a great addition to any homeschool curriculum or church library.

What I Dislike: The cover wasn't very eye-catching. But I liked everything else about the book.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: ages 4-8, but I believe it holds appeal to people ages eight to eighty!

Publisher Info: YWAM Publishing, 1998; ISBN: 978-1-57658-137-7 ; Paperback, 200 pages, $8.99

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