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William Wilberforce: A Biography by Stephen…

William Wilberforce: A Biography

by Stephen Tomkins

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In the 1780s, around 40,000 slaves a year were taken from Africa in British ships, on the notorious "Middle Passage," to the Caribbean. In 1787, under an oak tree in Kent, the British Prime Minister, William Pitt, invited his friend William Wilberforce to introduce a parliamentary bill outlawing the slave trade. Neither of them imagined a twenty-year political campaign that would consume the rest of Wilberforce's life. Born in Hull, England, to wealthy middle-class parents, Wilberforce entered Parliament and became a political celebrity in his day. After undergoing a profound Christian conversion, he set out on a path of service to humanity. Stephen Tomkins charts Wilberforce's tireless battle to end the slave trade, portraying a man of contradictions and extraordinary determination. Written in a lively and engaging style, this biography of William Wilberforce transports the reader back to a dramatic age of conflict and upheaval. Published as part of the widespread commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Anti-Slave Trade Act -- also celebrated by the 2007 release of the widely acclaimed movie Amazing Grace -- this biography brings an extensive cast of colorful characters vividly to life.  … (more)



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NCLA Review -In the 18th and part of the 19th centuries, Africans of all ages were kidnapped and transported to various islands owned by European countries in the Caribbean and South America. There they worked the fields and labored until death came as a welcomed relief from the brutality, poor food, unsanitary conditions and diseases that shortened their lives. In 1787 William Wilberforce introduced what became the first of many parliamentary bills to stop the slave trade and to abolish slavery in Great Britain. This book covers Wilberforce's profound Christian conversion and his obsession to abolish the slave trade. It also covers the political campaign and the twenty year plus struggle to achieve that goal. Stephen Tomkins, a journalist and author, provides an excellent biography of a complex and very contradictory man. The reader is introduced to an age of conflict, upheaval, conflicting interests and political behind the scenes action. The book was published as part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Anti Trade Act in conjunction with the release of the movie Amazing Grace. If your church library provides historical biographies, then this book would be a great choice. It is a well written, researched biography containing endnotes, bibliography and index. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but I found it a worthwhile read. Rating: 3 —BS ( )
  ncla | Jul 6, 2008 |
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