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The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  31 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
A biography of the famous eighteenth-century Quaker whose abolitionist fervor and spiritual practice made him a model for generations of Americans

John Woolman (1720–72) was perhaps the most significant American of his age, though he was not a famous politician, general, or man of letters, and never held public office. A humble Quaker tailor in New Jersey, he became a proph
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Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Hill and Wang
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Dan Gorman
Dec 05, 2015 Dan Gorman rated it really liked it
John Woolman was an interesting man — an itinerant man of all trades who hated the institution of slavery. He made coded overtures that slaves were right to resist unjust masters, but mostly Woolman preached about slavery as a moral evil. So you get sort of a portrait of abolitionism without actual abolition. Still, Woolman put his beliefs into practice on a personal level, rejecting any substance produced by slave labor. This is a very thorough analysis of Woolman's writings and life story, alt ...more
Rick
Dec 31, 2013 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This is a penetrating study to say the least. This humble Quaker from New Jersey had a domino-like influence on Quakers and then on society as well. Great movements for social justice had to begin somewhere and Woolman was a starting point for many of them. Slaughter does a good job of analyzing his inspirations, which can be linked to Jesus Christ and the early Christians.
Tim and Popie Stafford
Jul 29, 2008 Tim and Popie Stafford rated it really liked it
John Woolman was a Quaker lived in New Jersey before the Revolutionary War. Best known for his effective advocacy of anti-slavery among Quakers (who banned it among their members not long after his death). He was also a mystic and a remarkable St Francis type. This bio is gentle, slow moving, thoughtful.
Michael Greening
Oct 04, 2013 Michael Greening rated it it was amazing
Yes gentle slow and thought provoking, just as a fine bio should be. A book to be savored.
Katie
Nov 08, 2014 Katie rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
Boring. Tons of historical context and analysis, very skimpy on actual life story. Needed an introduction. Failed to convince me of Woolman's significance. I gave up halfway through.
Jed
I was interrupted for a long time while reading this book. I need to read it again to write a thoughtful review.

Two things I enjoyed learning about: Woolman's ministry and Quakers generally in early 18th century America. Boring genealogical: my mother's forebears lived in Burlington at the same time Woolman did. As I read, I wondered what contact they had with him.
Philip
Nov 16, 2008 Philip rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, gift
This book spends far too much time recounting Woolman's theological arguments. If I'd wanted that, I'd have read the Journal.

The book is at its best when its giving us the theological and historical context for Woolman. More of the latter would have been an improvement.
aCertainMan
May 16, 2009 aCertainMan rated it really liked it
This book does a thorough job exploring likely cultural and spiritual influences on a devout and influential 18th Century Quaker American.
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Jun 25, 2016
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