As a song leader I've read several 'hymn stories' collections before and they tend to be 'history-lite' vignettes - sort of 'Chicken Soup' for hymns - that fit nicely into a busy Sunday worship service schedule. But there was little information about the hymn writer's life or times. Not this book! It is about hymn writers first and then covers their great hymns of the faith. This book excels above other books because of the depth and breadth of biographical and historical material included. Faith Cook is an excellent biographer with several books published and she has applied that skill here in her indepth portrayals of English hymnwriters such as Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley and John Newton. She takes us deep behind the hymn writer's pen to learn what made them tick. Her chapter on William Cowper, his struggles with depression and how John Newton mentored him through it, is alone worth the price. Now when I sing There is A Fountain Filled with Blood, I can understand so much more and it enriches my praise to God. The book also reminds us that great hymn writers were sacred poets who were dedicated to writing carefully chosen words of praise for our Lord and lived exceptional devotional lives for Christ. They were not pop musicians trying to fit lyrics as an after-thought into the latest musical groove. We would do well today to follow this proven formula. Highly recommended for every pastor, music minister and modern hymnwriter, for church and religious school libraries, and for personal reading by all who aspire to understand and enjoy the great English hymns within the actual context of the hymnwriters.