Perhaps it was Luthers passion that served as a detriment to his ability to dialogue productively with the theologians of his day. Equally possible is the intransigence of those with whom he argued. I think it was somewhere in between.
Therefore, it has taken some years for Catholics to take a look at Luther, to bypass his anti-Catholic sentiments (sentiments which remain in many Protestant quarters) and to delve into his theology. Using Luther's own words, Wicks makes a good attempt to examine what Luther has to say about salvation, works and God's gift of righteousness through Christ. Taking an historical approach, we see Luther moving from his famous and more mystical "theology of the cross" to his reformational decisions, to more mature writings on grace.
While this is a good start from an "outsider", I would have liked to see a more critical review of Luther's work. Aside from some initial comments in the introduction, I think it would be helpful to have Wicks dialogue more with the text as a Jesuit, rather than simply present what Luther has to say. It may be that his intention was to write for fellow Catholics (which is very likely), but I found this book less helpful for someone like myself who is studying Luther and already reading similar Protestant writings.
From an ecumenical perspective, this is a remarkable work. I am eager to see more of this occur between Catholics and Protestants.
Wicks lets Luther speak (eloquently) for himself on all the main features of his theology. He achieves the remarkable: a text which serves for scholarship, meditation, and worship.
Wicks provides just enough his history, sociology, philosophy and psychology to let Luther live in a realistic light. He is aware that more has been written about Luther than any other person excepting St. Paul, and he has done his own depth analysis, but he does not bog the reader down in it. Those wanting to pursue further study will find a wonderful bibliography.