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Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery Hardcover – February 6, 2007
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“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
In 1784 Wilberforce had a conversion experience. He joined the Clapham Set, a group of pious and activist members of the Anglican Church, centered around John Venn, rector of Clapham Church in London. As a result of this conversion, Wilberforce became interested in social reform and was eventually approached by Lady Middleton to use his power as an MP to bring an end to the slave trade.
Wilberforce became one of the leader of the anti-slave trade movement. Most of Wilberforce’s Tory colleagues in the House of Commons were opposed to any restrictions on the slave trade and at first he had to rely on the support of Whigs. When William Wilberforce presented his first bill to abolish the slave trade in 1791 it was easily defeated by 163 votes to 88. Wilberforce refused to be beaten and in 1805 the House of Commons passed a bill that made it unlawful for any British subject to transport slaves, but the measure was blocked by the House of Lords. In February 1806, Lord Grenville formed a Whig administration. Grenville and his Foreign Secretary, Charles Fox, were strong opponents of the slave trade. Fox and Wilberforce led the campaign in the House of Commons, whereas Grenville had the task of persuading the House of Lords to accept the measure. When the vote was taken the Abolition of the Slave Trade bill was passed in the House of Lords by 41 votes to 20. In the House of Commons it was carried by 114 to 15 and it became law on 25th March, 1807.
Unfortunately, the passing of this legislation did not put an end to the practice of slave trading. Even though British captains who were caught continuing the trade were fined L100 for every slave found on board, captains often reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering the slaves to be thrown into the sea. William Wilberforce died on 29th July, 1833 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. One month later, Parliament passed what Wilberforce had dedicated his life toward; they passed the Slavery Abolition Act that gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.
This biography of one of the foremost abolitionists of Britain’s anti-slavery movement will be the official tie-in book to the film Amazing Grace by Walden Media.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Inspiring story, of one man's struggle and the small group who supported him, from history.Published 2 days ago by Molly
Absolutely excellent historical saga of an outstanding Christian man! The author has a fantastic commend of the English language>Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Eric Metaxas never ceases to deliver!! His Bonhoeffer book was amazing and this one doesn't disappoint. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book was a very good read. I enjoyed the writer's style, must have done an incredible amount of research. Thoroghly enjoyed this book.Published 28 days ago by MB
Comprehensive story of an amazing man who led a transformational life.Published 1 month ago by John Bohannon
The book took me back in time and showed me how a humble man of faith can literally change the world. I have a new hero and his name is William Wilberforce.Published 2 months ago by Marty Spears