Book Reviews

“A Disarming Spirit” is a book for our time

Reveiw by Leonard Eiger

This excerpt comes from a review that appeared in the April 2019 Ground Zero Newsletter.

… On June 12, 1981, Archbishop Hunthausen shared what author Frank Fromherz calls “a personal story of awakening” in his famous “Faith and Disarmament” speech at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

The speech was, in Fromherz’ words, “a prayerful invitation to examine personal and collective conscience on great moral questions regarding nuclear arms.” It was also the “shot heard round the world,” and one that landed firmly in the Vatican.

In that speech Hunthausen made an extraordinarily powerful, and controversial, statement: “We must take special responsibility for what is in our own backyard. And when crimes are being prepared in our name, we must speak plainly. I say with a deep consciousness of these words, that Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.” …

Fromherz’ new book, A Disarming Spirit: the Life of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen,” examines this tumultuous period of Hunthausen’s life and the central questions (and challenges) he posed to not only himself, but also to his country and to his church. …

A Disarming Spirit is a book for our time — a time in which our nation is beating the drums of war, abrogating nuclear weapons treaties, and preparing to fight nuclear war. It is a book that calls each of us to speak truth to power (in both church and society) and help pave the way for the abolition of nuclear weapons. …

[Leonard Eiger leads media and outreach efforts for Ground Zero, and coordinates the No to New Trident campaign at]

A Story of one person’s struggle to live his truth

Reviewed by Connie May

This review appears on the website Goodreads and Connie May’s own website, The Ark.

A Disarming Spirit by Frank Fromherz is a very timely book. It is a study of one person and his ongoing struggle to live his truth and how it can make a difference. If you were to want a biography written about your life, you would hope it would be with the care and attention to detail that Frank gives to Bp. Hunthausen.

[Fromherz] walks us through how one person accepts their truth with integrity and courage. Like any of us who starts out in life discovering our path step by step, often finding the way after many trials and errors, “Dutch” [Hunthausen’s nickname] accepts each step with prayerful attention. We would hope that we too would be remembered for the quiet and sometimes heroic choices we make in the name of love. Love for the truth, a healthy self-love, resulting in love for others.

“Dutch’s” details are unique to him, as are each of ours. Reading this book will give anyone encountering it a model of how to do it too. In these chaotic times it is becoming ever more important to give each other our best, even if we like “Dutch” won’t live to see our hopes materialize. But if someone writes our story someday, let us hope that someone cares enough to tell it as comprehensively as Frank, so we can add our truth to the world story.