David Teems could write a book about dirt and I would find it fascinating. Quite frankly, he is an artist with the English word and much of prose he writes sounds like poetry.
The author’s bio on the back of Tyndale, The Man who Gave God and English Voice says that David Teems is from Tennessee, which doesn’t surprise me. There is a lot about his writing style that makes me think of great Southern authors. Listen to this line about John Colet from page 27: “Granted, his sermon was in Latin, but a dead language never preached so hot.” I came across phrases and sentences like this over and over again in this book that made me smile.
Teems has taken a subject that I was mildly interested in, William Tyndale’s creation of the first English translation of the Bible, and written it in such a way that I found the story completely gripping. He fleshes out historical characters like Erasmus and Sir Thomas More, in a way that is very relatable. I had no idea that Thomas More was such a dirt-bag for example. Who ties up people in their backyard and whips them? It makes me want to go back and reread Utopia, looking for the sinister. Heck, I even want to go back and reread Dinotopia with new eyes!
As a reader, I really appreciated the careful scholarship that went into this book. Everything Teems writes about Tyndale is carefully backed up with footnotes and annotations. He writes with the point of view of someone who appreciates bravery, scholarship, and the truth, but not in a way that tries to push a particular religious, or political agenda. I think you could read this book coming from any religious background, and find it entertaining and edifying.
P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my positive (or negative) review.