William Wilberforce: A Biography

William Wilberforce: A Biography

by Stephen Tomkins
     
 


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…  See more details below

Overview


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.

 

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
AGERANGE: 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)

From the Publisher

Peter Ackroyd
— in TimesOnline
"Stephen Tomkins's William Wilberforce: A Biography is succinct and economical but conveys a very powerful impression of its subject."

Mark A. Noll
— University of Notre Dame
"The 200th anniversary of Parliament's ban of the slave trade has resulted in a burst of hagiographic enthusiasm for William Wilberforce. Stephen Tomkins's fine book offers something quite different. While genuinely appreciative of this genuinely admirable figure, Tomkins presents a realistic, probing, and full-orbed portrait. It is good to have available such a solid historical account of such an important historical figure."

Harry S. Stout
— Yale University
"In this thoroughly researched and sensitively written biography of William Wilberforce, Stephen Tomkins lays bare both the man and the institution he devoted his life to abolish. Drawing extensively on eyewitness testimonies, Tomkins confronts readers with the brutality of the slave trade as he depicts Wilberforce's extraordinary, religiously grounded efforts to eradicate it. The book takes into account current cultural concerns without succumbing to anachronistic revisionism. A must-read in this 200th anniversary year of British abolition."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745952321
Publisher:
Lion Hudson
Publication date:
01/19/2007
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author


Stephen Tomkins is an experienced journalist who holds aPh.D. in church history from London School of Theology andis a contributing editor to the online humor magazineShip of Fools. He is also the author of Paul andHis World.

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