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Not many today know about the New Jersey Quaker, mystic and social activist John Woolman (1720-1772). But William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, characterized Woolman as a saint. John Greenleaf Whittier called him the founding father of the abolitionist movement. As Slaughter (The Whiskey Rebellion) shows in this superb narrative, it may be argued that the pious, simple-living Woolman-by rejecting not only slavery but also the accumulation of wealth, economic exploitation of all kinds and all forms of violence-created the prototype for every pacifist and nonconformist to come after. Woolman always dressed simply in clothes he stitched himself, white clothes meant to mark him as a man of God. He advocated his causes in lectures and sermons across the eastern United States and England (where he died of smallpox) and through extensive writings. He made a point of owning nothing he did not need and giving away every and anything he could not use. In our own age of conspicuous consumption, the complex soul Slaughter so ably and beautifully resurrects is full of contemporary relevance as an example of principled living. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.