The problem with writing a book about a theologian, that isn’t a study of a very particular theme, is that one has to write something interesting enough to make the reader feel it is worth one’s while to read your book rather than the books by the theologian in questions. This is particularly important when it is a theologian that is as acessible as Yoder – i.e. there is little need of explainging complex patterns of thoughts etc.
Nation succeeds I think, and what he provides is this. A Biography, always interesting especially when the author in question is as ”exotic” as a mennonite. But especially a kind of read-through of all of Yoders works. That is, he creates a path thoroughout the myriad of longer and shorter texts and authoritatively tells us what is central and what is periphery. Thus we get a sketch of Yoder’s thinking in its entirety, which is very valuable if one wants to adress one particular topic.
The book suffers from some odd repetitions of some paragraphs, and several quotations occur several times. It almost feels as if the book would have needed one more read-through before publication. A Bibliography would have been helpful (there are full references in the notes only), but I guess Nation wants to direct readers to his separate Yoder bibliography.