the literary classic The Pilgrim’s Progress has, over the years since it’s publication in 1678, developed a life of its own. so much so that it deserves a biography of its own. enter Kevin Belmonte and his addition to the Thomas Nelson Christian Encounters series John Bunyan. the text is as much a biography of The Pilgrim’s Progress as it is of John Bunyan; their stories, Bunyan’s and his book’s, are so closely knit.
Belmonte served as the lead historical consultant for the film Amazing Grace and his biography of William Wilberforce won the John Pollock Award for Christian Biography.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is considered one of the most influential and significant works of English literature. it has been translated into more than 200 languages and has never been out of print.
Belmonte states his goal for John Bunyan early, clearly and consicely: “…this is the crux of the matter: how did such a great book [The Pilgrim’s Progress] come to be written by a man of such modest origins? The answers to that not insignificant question have given rise to the pages that follow” (Kevin Belmonte, John Bunyan, xx).
in John Bunyan the book, Kevin Belmonte tells John Bunyan’s story and the story behind The Pilgrim’s Progress beautifully.
we read of his early life as a child and teenagaer. Bunyan was born in Harowden, 1628. he was the son of a tinker; his father, Thomas, worked with brass. little is known of his mother, Margaret. however, she was a woman of great faith and had to be very compassionate. Bunyan was 16 when she died and took her death, and his father’s re-marrying soon after, hard, as most young people would.
Bunyan married in 1649. an unexpedted dowry of two books made a lasting impression and it’s safe to say contributed to his faith and life’s work.
Bunyan served in the military, served time in prision, and served as a preacher. he was popular to some. notorius to others.
John Bunyan is light and an easy read. ordinarily that may sound belittleing. however, Belmonte focuses on vital details and elements of Bunyan’s life and The Pilgrim’s Progress and the result is 21 chapters spread out over 139 pages that inform and entertain. if you want minute details and extensive information on Bunyan, his life, and work, you’ll need other resources.
Belmonte is a great historian and a great story-teller. his training, education, and skill with prose make him an ideal member of the Christian Encounters team.
i highly recommend John Bunyan. it’s a great read for biography lovers and it’s an essential companion to Bunyan’s classic work The Pilgrim’s Progress.
*Full Disclosure: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson through “Book Sneeze.” They give free books to bloggers for honest reviews.*