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Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery Hardcover – February 6, 2007
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A companion biography to Walden Media's major feature film (April 2007) by the same name, that tells the story of England's heoric abolitionist on the 200th anniversary of the defeat of slavery.
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Wilberforce and his Methodist friends put their faith to work, not by calling down fire and brimstone on the purveyors of human flesh, but by using the means at their disposal--political and economic forces that moved slowly, but finally made slavery, al least for those of us in the western world, reprehensible.
The contradictory forces in young Wilberforce's life could have easily flipped him in a direction that destroyed him and given his talents, might easily have done immense damage to England. The power of religious faith--specifically Methodist Christianity--impelled him to dedicate his life to the cause of abolishing the slave trade.
He was, of course, helped by many other men and women. Some, like John Newton, are well known to many of us. Others are more obscure. The author gives each of them his or her due.
Readers who love history will enjoy this book. Readers who doubt the power of religious zeal to change the world for the better will be encouraged to rethink their position. And readers who are both Christian and Methodist will discover even more reasons to be proud of their religious heritage.
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.
Wilberforce was an inconspicuous little man, only 5' 3" tall, but with a powerful presence and a very persuasive speaker in the House of Commons. The book contains some interesting facts, such as by the end of the 18th century, there were over 17,000 blacks living in England as free men. These had been escaped slaves who fought on the side of the British in the revolutionary war in America, but they lived in poverty, and Wilberforce tried to help them as well. His energy also extended to doing something about the abuses in colonial India, where widows were still being burned alive, after their husband's death !