Moral Leaders for a Divided Age: 14 People Who Dared Change Our World

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Moral Leaders for a Divided Age: 14 People Who Dared Change Our World


David P. Gushee and Colin Holtz


Brazos Press (an imprint of Baker House Publishers)

Publication Date:

October 2018




385 pages


“Of all the billions of people who have lived on our planet, there are certain individuals we cannot forget,” the authors note in this introduction. At the same time, we live in an increasingly cynical world where it’s easy to find flaws, make a big deal out of them on social media, and dismiss peoples’ impact. David P. Gushee and Colin Holtz argue that such a world is precisely why it’s important to keep studying moral leaders – recognize their flaws, praise their contributions, and understand what they could have done better. Only by doing that can we create something better. They summarize fourteen moral leaders:

  • William Wilberforce
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Mother Teresa
  • Oscar Romero
  • Nelson Mandela
  • John Paul II
  • Elie Wiesel
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Malala Yousafzai

Each chapter looks at one leader’s life story, impact and flaws, lists the leadership lessons readers can learn from the leader’s life, and ends with discussion questions readers can use to dig deeper into what made these leaders great.

Too often, anthologies about great leaders turn into “hagiographies,” summaries of all their great qualities (which countless other writers have usually covered) that make the subjects seem perfect. Gushee and Holtz cut through that tendency and honestly admit the mistakes these leaders made. In the conclusion, they even consider what sets “moral leaders” versus “moral exemplars” apart, helping readers understand the importance of studying leaders who don’t make all the right choices. An exemplary look at what makes great leaders.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers (Christian or non-Christian) seeking stories about moral leaders that both caution and inspire them.

Christian Impact

This book will inspire and educate readers with its analyses of what makes certain people into great leaders and how we should approach their failings.

Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: Fourteen People Who Dared to Change Our World

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