In this gripping biography, journalist Markus Baum presents Eberhard Arnold's life (1883-1935) as a challenge to all of us to reconsider our response to Jesus' command to "leave everything and follow me".
Baum's account recreates a colorful slice of history, a time when thousands of young men and women across Weimar Germany rejected bourgeois mores and struck out on a different path. Arnold, an aspiring young writer and speaker, was a driving force behind this "Youth Movement". But he went further, leaving the limelight, a comfortable lifestyle, and a promising career, to live the answers he had found. He started a community based on Christ's teachings and example. Arnold was able to unite a motley assortment of workers, aristocrats, and students from diverse political and religious persuasions under a shared vision of Christ's kingdom as a living reality.
Against the Wind explores the forces that shaped Arnold's life -- the early Church, the Anabaptists, the Salvation Army, Charles Finney's Evangelical revival in America -- and his influence on other spiritual leaders of his day -- Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and Martin Buber among them. It recounts his lonely stand against the rise of Nazism, and presents his continuing legacy, the Bruderhof community movement, which carries on his commitment to integrate faith and social action so needed today.
Most of all, Against the Wind gives flesh, blood, and personality to a man whose role in history has been obscured. Arnold abhorred private property and institutional religion, hated hypocrisy and embraced absolutes. Even during his lifetime he was dubbed a "modern St. Francis". But he also struggled to find his convictions and put theminto action. He chose to walk resolutely against the prevailing winds, but not without difficulty and disappointment.