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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 26, 2008
"Once Blind" by Kay Marshall Strom brilliantly chronicles the life of John Newton. This beautifully written biography tells of Newton's service in the Royal Navy, his time on a slave ship, his conversion and steadfast crusade to end slavery. Written almost like a diary, the life story of the writer of "Amazing Grace" is captivatingly told in chapters broken down logically by year.

This book also brings to light how slavery still exists in our world today. Strom includes practical methods to join the abolitionist movement and help in the fight against slavery. She also provides contact information for various resources and groups with which the reader may become involved.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2008
Several years ago I read The Infidel by Joe Musser (B&H 2001) and enjoyed it very much. It was a novel - rather than a biography - based on John Newton's life. Once Blind is very similar to The Infidel so both authors had obviously studied up on John Newton's life, though they had slightly different takes on the details. Once Blind was an easy read, though I found the symbols used to illustrate cursing like... #@(%& quite distracting at times. There was also an occasional point of view issue, but other than those minor things, I really liked the story. The fact that I finished it says a lot considering most books of the books I start never get read through to the end. At any rate, this biography was a nice review of John Newton's life and the comparison to modern day slavery issues at the end is worth considering. There is even a section that talks about how you can become a modern day abolitionist.

I also appreciated how the author used excerpts from some of Newton's sermons to make points in the story. Some scenes were pretty descriptive of the horrors of slavery, but nothing the average reader would get ill over. The details were not too graphic. At any rate, Once Blind is a worthwhile read and I definitely recommend taking the time to read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Once Blind is more of a novel about John Newton's life than his biography. The line is blurred between what the author has added in herself and what is factually true. That being said, this book has been a page turner with a rude awakening as to what the slave trade of the 18th century was actually like, and a perfect example of a God that will not let any of His children out of his grasp no matter how hard we struggle to get away.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2010
Overall I have not enjoyed this book (I'm 70% complete) because it claims to be non-fiction but there is no documentation of sources. I don't think I've ever read a non-fiction book that relies so heavily on detailed conversations or thoughts of the characters to advance the story (it reads like a fiction novel). Pair that with the fact that there are absolutely NO sources cited (?!?!) and I conclude that this book falls under that category of historical fiction. As far as I can tell the book purports to be be non-fiction (from reading the cover, introduction etc). If you care about accuracy when reading about the life of a significant historical figure then choose another book. I regret purchasing this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
John Newton's life makes a very strong testimony. Reading this biography of his life is a great addition to my library and knowledge base. Since I was a child, I can remember knowing that he was the man who was a captain on a slave ship until he found peace with Christ and wrote the lyrics to the beloved hymn "Amazing Grace". I did not however realize what all that he had endured in his life and just how "bad" he really had been. I guess I only received the child edited version of his life before. This book is told from practically a diary fashion and really takes the reader through the days and years of John's life, the good, and the very bad. In comparison to me, John is extremely strong and I would have given up early on. Comparing him to Job (Biblical Job), he still had not lost everything, but to him I'm sure it seemed he had. Reading through John Newton's life was really a personal and eye awakening experience, not just for the purpose of slave-trade, but for the purpose of being a Prodigal Child of Christ and how many times you can run, but never hide. Our God is an amazing God, and so many times we just do not see. We have all been and most of the time are just blind. I do give this book my full recommendation. I also suggest the film "Amazing Grace". This would be perfect would a group or individual study as well as a wonderful homeschooling piece.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2008
This is one of the best books I have read in years! I was so caught up in the story that I couldn't put it down. I literally stayed up all night reading the entire book! This is the kind of book you'll read again and again. Once Blind: The Life of John Newton
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2008
This is a great read. It is a real page turner. If you saw the movie, "Amazing Grace", then you will want to read this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2008
If you're traded to a slaver ship by the Royal Navy, no one is expecting much from you. "Once Blind: The Life of John Newton" is the true story of a lifelong troublemaker who straightens himself out and becomes one of the most profound pro-abolition voices of his time. With a focus on Newton's religious beliefs and how he felt that God was always looking out for him even through the worst, this biography of the man who composed Amazing Grace, one of the most famous songs in history, will keep readers reading all the way through. A top pick for community library biography collections.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
A wonderful book. Well written and inspring. One man CAN make a difference. The horrors of the slave trade come alive (often descriptively so!) and we wonder at the depths to which human beings will sink for profit. The text to Amazing Grace becomes alive and meaningful after you have read the book and experience one man's transition from a Saul to a Paul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
I love the song Amazing Grace and wanted to read the story of the author of the song. This was a great read and it gave me such an appreciation for the work of abolitionists in that century. The horrors and atrocities of the slave trade were hard to read but the story of Newton's change of heart is inspiring.
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