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Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery Paperback – November 13, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061173886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061173882
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A fine and important book.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“The little-known story of the lifelong struggle of a member of Parliament to abolish slavery in the British Empire.” (USA Today)

From the Back Cover

Amazing Grace is the biography of William Wilberforce, a British statesman and reformer from the early part of the 19th century. It chronicles his extraordinary contributions to the world, primarily his 20-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, which he won in 1807. He was also instrumental in passing legislation to abolish slavery in the British colonies, a victory he won just three days before his death in 1833. He was a hero to Abraham Lincoln and an inspiration to the anti-slavery movement in America. America needs to become reacquainted with this moral hero.

This biography of one of the foremost abolitionists of Britain’s anti-slavery movement is the official tie-in book to the film Amazing Grace by Walden Media. The hardcover edition spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

More About the Author

Eric Metaxas is the New York Times bestselling author of Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. His writing was first published in Atlantic Monthly, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Regeneration Quarterly, Christianity Today, National Review Online, Beliefnet and First Things. The American Booksellers Association chose Metaxas's The Birthday ABC as a 1995 Pick of the List and honored his Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving with their Number One Bestseller Award for Thanksgiving 1999. He has been featured numerous times on CNN, The Fox News Channel and other television networks, and has been a guest on NPR. He is the founder and host of Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life, a monthly event of entertaining and thought provoking discussions that feature such speakers as Sir John Polkinghorne, Dr. Armand Nicholi, Os Guinness, Lauren F. Winner and Peter Kreeft. Metaxas serves on the vestry of Calvary/St. George's Episcopal Church, and lives in Manhattan, New York, with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

If you enjoyed the movie, you really need to read this book.
Mr Steve
I say that most of all about William Wilberforce, the subject of this book, but I also say it about Eric Metaxas, who has written a wonderful story.
David Jeffcoat
After much prayer and study, Wilberforce was led to two great causes, the abolition of slavery and the "reformation of manners" in the empire.
Craig Matteson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 190 people found the following review helpful By B. D. Weimer on February 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book with low expectations, assuming it was a hastily-written biography produced to promote the upcoming Wilberforce film. I was very pleasantly surprised.

The author, Eric Metaxas, has produced a masterpiece worthy of its subject. Metaxas is an eloquent and fluid writer, and he brings to life one of Britain's most gifted and eloquent politicians.

William Wilberforce electrified Parliament in his early years, before he yet had a cause. His silver tongue and quit wit won him many friends, including Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. Had Wilberforce continued along this path, he might well have succeeded Pitt.

With respect and sensitivity, Metaxas documents a powerful change to Wilberforce. Through a serious and intelligent conversion to Evangelical (Methodist) Christianity, Wilberforce's life was forever altered. His heart was changed ... to God and humanity. He could no longer ignore the sufferings of African slaves, kidnapped and shipped under horrible conditions to a living death in Britain's Caribbean colonies. He brought his faith to bear on politics ... as controversial in his day as in ours.

Metaxas dramatically shows how much Wilberforce suffered for the sake of abolition. He faced powerful and dangerous foes without fear or malice. By the force of his stubborn will, Wilberforce awakened the British conscience. He refused to turn back, despite many bitter setbacks. Returning to Parliament year after year, Wilberforce finally saw the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. Then, mere days before his death, he witnessed Parliament's history-changing vote to outlaw slavery throughout the British colonies.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Peter G. Hawkins on February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this biography Eric Metaxas traces William Wilberforce's roots, schooling, friends and faith to gain an understanding of what propelled the man to take on and defeat the powerful and politically connected slave traders/merchants of the late 18th century. It is a wonderful look into a period of time where one man leads a groundswell movement that results in an about face in Great Britain's perception of the slave trade, and ultimately slavery itself - a tidal wave that crossed the Atlantic to the U.S.
I would highly recommend "Amazing Grace" to anyone, not just for it's historical significance, but for those with a mind to effect change in their own community.
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Eric Metaxas provides the story behind the movie "Amazing Grace." Whereas the movie somewhat down-plays Wilberforce's Christianity, Metaxes' book clearly hightlights Wilberforce's faith in Christ as the primary motivator for his campaign for the end of slavery.

Metaxas vividly portrays the real and raw experiences that Wilberforce endured including intense opposition. Readers see in Wilberforce, as the subtitle suggests, a heroic and resilient Christian whose faith impacted not only his life, but the lives of millions.

It was Wilberforce's freedom from the slavery of sin that led him to fight for freedom from the sin of slavery. Read "Amazing Grace" and learn the rest of the story.

Rewiever: Bob Kellemen is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Spiritual Friends, and Soul Physicians.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By MommyHuggin on December 27, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After seeing the movie, Amazing Grace, our 12 year old daughter chose William Wilberforce as a school Language Arts project. When she submitted her "topic" to her teacher, the teacher said, "I have no idea who he is." Admittedly, before the movie, we, too, had never heard of him. Whereas the movie skims over this man's life, this book allows you to get to know him, as a man and as a public figure. You will know his weaknesses and his strengths. You will learn that he championed many other causes which helped usher in the Victorian Age in England. He was at the center of the campaign to abolish slavery in the British Kingdom. His abilities as an orator kept the abolisment of slavery at the forefront of Parliament for decades. He did not do it alone and this book does not insinuate that he did. This book, "Amazing Grace", is about William Wilberforce and it is well done.

I would not recommend it for 6th, 7th, or 8th graders. Some of the material on slavery was very rough, but necessary. We had to edit the book and cross out sections which she shouldn't read.

I think all adults should read this book. William Wilberforce's life is inspiring, to say the least.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Heald on February 3, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas is the New York Times bestseller about the life of William Wilberforce. The subtitle describes the theme: The heroic campaign to end slavery.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Metaxas's book because he so obviously liked and admired his subject. In the epilogue he writes, "I confess that while writing this book I sometimes had the happy sense that Wilberforce was present, or on the verge of it, twinkling with delight at my elbow, wearing that rosebud smile of his, head quizzically cocked."

However, it is Mr. Metaxas's sharp wit and skill with words - not his admiration - that brings Mr. Wilberforce to life and illuminates the dark underbelly of the Georgian era that arose from the unfeeling and unquestioning pursuit of the enlightenment. I sputtered in startled amusement when Mr. Metaxas described the public ox roast that William Wilberforce hosted when he stood for Parliament the first time, an event that had occurred in

"1809 to celebrate to Golden Jubilee of King George III, and another was held in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Victoria. And here now, in Hull in 1780, an ox roast was held to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of the grandson of the late Alderman, the scion of the great Wilberforce family, a tiny, brilliant, and exceedingly ambitious young man who happened to be standing for Parliament in the general election just two weeks away . . . .
It was duly noted that the newly minted twenty-one-year-old had won exactly as many votes as his two opponents combined, which gave him a nice little push as he entered parliament--the ox had not twirled in vain."

Mr. Metaxas writes with empathy as well as with a sharp wit.
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