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KLIATTAGERANGE: Ages 15 to adult.
In 1779, William Wilberforce introduced a bill in Parliament that would outlaw the trade of African captives into slavery in the British possessions in the Caribbean. He worked tirelessly for the next 50 years: 30 to get the slave trade abolished and another 20 to abolish slavery itself. He died two days after the final bill passed into law. Students of the American Civil War are aware that Britain had abolished slavery in 1833. But in general, Americans know little about the process and the intricate and convoluted political battles that those abolition bills, first of the trade and then of slavery itself, entailed. Journalist Stephen Tomkins treads smoothly through the tangled political path that Wilberforce, his friend Pitt, and others were obliged to follow if slavery and its trade were ever to be outlawed in England. Carefully researched and annotated, William Wilberforce is appropriate for honors history and sociology students. Reviewer: Patricia Moore
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)