Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

The Bible calls them parables. Aesop calls them fables. Literary aficionados call them allegories. Call them what you will ... they are stories with a purpose greater than simple entertainment. They are stories that teach a lesson.

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews is just such a story. David Ponder has made his fortune, lost everything, and started over again. Now an old man, his wife has died, he is alone, and he considers the course of his life. While reflecting on his previous journey, recorded in The Traveler, the archangel Gabriel whisks him away to participate in a summit to determine whether or not humankind will be given a chance to start over.

The rules are explained and David must submit the answer to a question posed by Gabriel before time runs out. He begins requesting help from men and women throughout history. Men and women like Abraham Lincoln, King David, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, and many others.

A unique blend of fact and fiction, The Final Summit explores principles which are valuable in both leadership and everyday life. Important men and women throughout the history of the world share the lessons they learned from their successes and failures. I was extremely curious to learn the answer to the question asked by Gabriel and eagerly turned the pages to learn if the group leading the summit would find the correct answer.

Andy Andrews has a fascinating writing style and a knack for telling some of the least-known bits of history. For instance, do you know who is credited with ending World War II on the European front? Neither did I. But somehow Andy Andrews unearthed this bit of historical trivia and relays this story in the telling of David Ponders' story.

While God is mentioned, as are other heroes of the Christian faith, and the summit supposedly takes place in heaven, I'm not certain how truly Christian the book is. I am not familiar with the religious beliefs of many of the historical figures that were mentioned in passing, but I do not recall all of them to be Christians. I would hate for anyone to read the book and assume that doing great things assures a person a place in heaven. There are other things mentioned as well that are not supported by Scripture. 

Additionally, I came to a completely different conclusion than the author (and the characters) about the answer to the question presented to the summit. The question is: "What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?" My answer would be something along the lines of "Trust Christ." The author doesn't really point people to Christ through the discussions of the characters. Wonderful principles of hope, courage, self-discipline, humility, and wisdom are explored, but the ultimate answer was not as Christ-centered as I had hoped it would be.

Overall, the book is well-written and enjoyable as a "self-help" book (which is what it is listed as on the back cover). The historical overtones are intriguing as well. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the lack of Christian focus. Overall, I would give the book a rating of 3.5 stars. I wanted to give it 5 stars, but just couldn't reconcile some of the content with my personal convictions.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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