November 8, 2012         John W    John W's previous articles

Book review:  Eric Liddell - Something Greater Than Gold
YWAM Publishing, USA, 1988,  200 pages

By Janet & Geoff Benge

Chariots of Fire tells the story of Eric Liddell and the 1924 Paris Olympic Games

Janet and Geoff Benge's most readable book has many more details about Liddell:

* Eric was born in China of missionary parents in 1902,
the first ever Olympic Gold Medalist born in China!

* When he was six years old, he and his older brother Robert were sent to Scotland for schooling

* Eric was a top scholar and a top athlete at school and at Oxford University

* He was an international Rugby Union player, representing Scotland seven times (on the wing)

* After his 1924 Gold Medal in the 400 metres, Eric had the world at his feet, but he chose to study for the ministry and returned to China in 1925 as a missionary teacher, and later pastor

* Eric, his brother Robert (now a doctor) and Dr Ken McAll (who later wrote the "Healing the Family Tree" books) worked together in a China ravaged by warfare, disease and famine during the time of struggle between the Communists, Nationalists and Japanese

* In 1934 he married Florence Mackenzie, the daughter of Canadian missionaries. They had two girls in China, and one more daughter was born after "Flo" returned to Canada

* When Flo and children were leaving for Canada, as the Japanese invasion engulfed China, Eric's final words to Flo were
"Those who love God never meet for the last time"

* The book includes the story of Australian Trappists in the Japanese internment camp with Eric, Dr Ken and 1,800 others

* On February 21, 1945, at the age of 43, "The Flying Scotsman" died in the camp from a brain tumor, probably brought on by his life of dedication and denial in war-ravaged China and in the camp

Information available after the book's publication (from Wikipedia article below):
In 2008 Chinese authorities revealed that Liddell had refused an opportunity to leave the camp and instead gave his place to a pregnant woman. Apparently, the Japanese made a deal with the British, with Churchill's approval, for prisoner exchange. This information was released near the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by the Chinese government and apparently news of this act of sacrifice came as a surprise even to his family members.

An inspiring book, written in a simple style...most highly recommended.
Most suitable for teenagers as well as older readers.
Book will literally put a spring in your steps! 
An ideal Christmas gift!

Janet & Geoff's book tops the "further reading" list of Wikipedia's article on Eric Liddell