By Belmonte's lights, Wilberforce (1759-1833) is unjustly little known; hence, his yeomanly attempt to make the great English politician more familiar to a broad, popular readership. He treats Wilberforce's career topically rather than in strict chronology, devoting separate chapters to activities that Wilberforce performed simultaneously. Chief among those activities were Wilberforce's 20-year campaign to abolish the slave trade throughout the British empire and his lifelong project to reform his nation's morals by organizing a broad range of private philanthropies to better the conditions of Britain's poor. Throughout, Belmonte stresses Wilberforce's motivation: the "great change," as Wilberforce called his conversion to evangelical Christianity when he was in his midtwenties, after which he felt obliged to ease suffering and need however he could and to approach all challenges with equanimity, including the challenges of disparaging critics and political foes, whom he strove to regard positively, with the consequence that many later supported his policies. A good introduction to an example of that now rare species, the genuinely Christian statesman. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Winner of the 2003 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography.