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William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  198 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The bestselling author of 'William Pitt the Younger' has written an equally masterful life of another pivotal figure in British politics: the MP for Hull and staunchly conservative campaigner against the slave trade.
Hardcover, 582 pages
Published 2007 by Harcourt
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May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it
"In the 1740s British ships transported no fewer than 200,000 African slaves, and the triangular trade this facilitated was fuelling the rapid growth of domestic manufacturing. Some 85% of English textile exports went to Africa at this stage, while the demand for slaving ships in Liverpool made it a world leader in ship building. It is no wonder that it could be written in 1772 that the African slave trade was 'the foundation of our commerce, the support of our colonies, the life of our navigati ...more
Dec 17, 2008 William rated it really liked it
There is something false about history and biography. History seems so inevitable when looking back with hindsight that the viewer never sees the forks in the road where it might have turned differently. Biography can be nothing more than the resume of a dead person, his accomplishments laid out like a laundry list. William Hague may graze the edges of such mistakes, but sets a true course in his biography of William Wilberforce, an independent member of the House of Commons who was instrumental ...more
Jun 12, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
"Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air. And no human law can deprive him of that right..."(pg.131)

This is probably the best biography I have ever read (but I really haven't read that many yet). I think I liked this one so much for two reasons. Hague does a great job making it interesting without dwelling too much on the minutiae and I was very interested in this man and learning more about his life.

At a time when slavery was generally accepted and lo
Jan 12, 2013 Nigel rated it really liked it
Wilberforce was an independent and independently minded politician who, through his deep seated Christianity and sense of morality embarked on a campaign that took up almost the last 50 years of his life to abolish the slave trade. William Hague tells the story in great detail, in a well researched and readable manner. Like many people of his time Wilberforce was a diarist and a great letter writer and Hague makes great use of this material to paint a picture not only of what Wilberforce did but ...more
Mar 06, 2010 Vibeke rated it it was amazing
Usually, when I read a biography, I feel an immense sadness when I reach the end. I'm sometimes disappointed by how the persons life turned out or wish they had done more. But this book was different. Seeing all of the great things William Wilberforce had accomplished and the man he had been, I could only feel I sweet sense of gratitude for his achievements. His story is an empowering one, teaching me that I should never give in when I'm fighting for something good. William Hague's style is very ...more
Czarny Pies
Jun 20, 2016 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Shelves: european-history
I suspect that William Hague's biography of William Wilberforce merits five stars but as I do not know the era well enough to be absolutely sure, I am giving it four. It is a very solid book and is well worth reading for anyone wishing to know more about the abolition movement or British polictics during the Revolutionary Era.
Hague's supreme achievement in my view is that he explains how an independent could be an effective force in parliament in an age when political parties existed but lacked
Glenn Myers
Jun 07, 2014 Glenn Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With the Hallelujah Chorus playing and replaying in his head, or so I imagine, Tony Blair was liberating Iraq from an era of death and mayhem and at great cost ushering in a new era of mayhem and death. At the same time, William Hague, his rival for Prime Minister in the 2001 election, was writing this book. It isn't hard to see who was more usefully employed.

Hague's book is superb. Satisfyingly rich in detail, with prose as smooth and tasty as good blended soup, and with insights from Hague's
Aug 08, 2014 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story, character
This was a very impressive book to read. It showed the various quirks and foibles of William Wilberforce, as well as the political situation during his lifetime. There was good levels of background information to explain how the government worked which made the politics interesting and able to be followed. I enjoyed the detail of the politics, but it was there to move the history forward, rather than being a way of showing how diligent the research was (you can look at the bibliography for that) ...more
This was a very even handed and informative biography. The most interesting part was the history of the time period. Being educated in the US, we really don't learn about history in Europe until the first world war. It was fascinating to learn what was going on in Europe from our revolutionary war through our civil war. I found it particularly interesting to learn that many English citizens and members of parliament were against the Revolutionary war. This seems obvious upon reflection, given it ...more
May 05, 2011 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved it.

Story: incredible. His life is amazing. I learned so much and was inspired to be a better person. I learned fascinating things about the temple and gospel concepts, by reading about his life and times.

Context: Fabulous. Though written by a British author mainly for British audience, Hague explained geography, politics, etc. well enough that I could understand what was happening and the relevance of things. Almost as much as the story, I enjoyed expanding my knowledge of B
The story of William Wilberforce is fascinating. You see a man filled with determination and who is more concerned about standing up for Christ's sake more than for his own sake. . . and by doing right according to what Christ's word states as well. What a tough battle he fought for the sake of justice!! I applaud him! It was interesting to learn so much more about him than just the usual known instances about his endurance and stances in parliament against slavery. At many points in this book t ...more
Jan 26, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful, well-written biography of an extraordinary man. William Wilberforce is best known for his decades-long efforts to end the British trans-Atlantic slave trade. William Hague, an experienced Parliamentarian himself who writes with an understanding of the inner workings of Parliament, surveys the life of Wilberforce. Hague shows how Wilberforce's early conversion to Methodism formed the structure for his life and dealings with the world and how his religious convictions became his sustai ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Lorenz rated it it was amazing
William Hague is one of my favorite authors. Just like his book on William Pitt, I would highly recommend this book. It's well-researched and easy to read. The author provides good anecdotes as well as different perspectives from contemporaries about William Wilberforce. Reading the book makes you feel how passionate William Wilberforce is in ending the slavery and makes you feel inspired about fighting for your own cause despite the obstacles. The pictures were great too! This book is definitel ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Gerard rated it it was amazing
I feel this is the definitive biography of Wilberforce. I have read many others of course but this embodies the person as he really was. I really recommend this book. I feel he was some kind of a saint. It is extraordinary how one man can have such an impact on his society. So for us also. What can we do in our time to change the lives of so many. I think of a few. So do read and be inspired as I am. wG Wilberforce
D.J. Cockburn
Oct 09, 2013 D.J. Cockburn rated it liked it
A fairly detailed biography of one of the truly great figures of British history, Hague shows he was putting his own years in the political wilderness to good use. If I have a quibble, it's that I sometimes felt the detail of Wilberforce's electoral exploits was crowding out the detail of the time and culture on which he exerted such a powerful influence, but Hague ensures that nothing obscures a detailed and affectionate picture of Wilberforce himself.
Jan 19, 2009 Connie rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating look into a far different time and place. Wilberforce was a very remarkable, and I believe inspired, man who deserved all of the admiration/adulation he received during and after his life. Hague is a brilliant writer; I'm hoping to read more of his works. My recommendation: Read this book and then watch the movie Amazing Grace.
Jul 29, 2009 Patra rated it it was amazing
After watching the movie 'Amazing Grace', I was so impressed with William Wilberforce that I wanted to know more about him and how accurate the movie really was in regards to Britain abolishing the slave trade. This book answered all of my questions and enlightened me further on the personality of William Wilberforce. It is extremely well researched and well written.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I thought this would be an interesting pass-the-time read after having finished all of Naomi Novik's books to date - but this particular biography seems, well ... as if it was not written with holding the reader's attention in mind. That probably sounds lazy on my part - but if I'm reading something that I don't have to, I want it to be entertaining and well-written.
Alastair Manderson
Jul 27, 2012 Alastair Manderson rated it it was amazing
Really good look at a Christian man from the eyes of someone like Hague.
The admiration for Wilberforce is admirable and his convictioon is never questioned, if you read this book you will feel like you spent a weekend with WW. Although, hopefully opium free.
Karin Jenkins
Jul 29, 2016 Karin Jenkins rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about the period and got a much broader picture of Wilberforce's life and interests and increased my admiration for the man. It is however a very long book and I found myself flagging a bit after the great battle had been won.
Sep 22, 2008 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this biography(though I confess I didn't make it all the way through before I had to return it to the library). There's so much to admire in this man. There was movie made about his life a few years ago - "Amazing Grace" -well-worth watching.
Aug 29, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
Biography of 18th century British MP who spent most of his adult life campaigning to abolish the slave trade. I learned a great deal about the British political system and political world of the late 18th century.
Apr 05, 2010 Liz rated it really liked it
I never cease to feel inspired by the life of this Godly, incredible man. This biography felt like it did him justice. It went into all the details, and gave more insight into some of the less talked about areas, like Wilberforce's love-life, which I appreciated:D
Jan 06, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
An incredibly well researched book about one of the giants of the Victorian age. At over 500 pages long it appears that no stone has been un-turned to to give the reader an exact account of one of the most remarkable men of all time.
May 03, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it
Very interesting book. William Wilberforce was quiet the man who accomplished so much in his life. Very moving and motivational read.
Jul 23, 2011 Honor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed but worth reading, the beginning of success with abolition is 2/3 way through the book so don't give up before then. The man is an inspiration.
Mckenzie Tuttle
Mar 19, 2013 Mckenzie Tuttle rated it really liked it
So much information on the man who changed the political world of England!! ENding slavery is not the easiest thing. It's a good read for those who enjoy history
Mike Print
Aug 07, 2011 Mike Print rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutley brilliant read. The story of a great man, fighting for a great many causes. It is a long book but well worth the effort
Jun 26, 2011 Wendy added it
i postively loved every moment of reading every page within william hague book on william wilberforce. So much so i hope 2 have a copy in my own book collection, one day.
May 22, 2015 Felicity rated it it was amazing
Great book! Read it much quicker then anticipated because I kept getting caught up in the excitement!
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William Jefferson Hague is a British Conservative politician. He served as Leader of the Conservative Party from June 1997 to September 2001 and is currently the British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State under David Cameron. In parliament, he represents the constituency of Richmond (Yorks), having done so since 1989.

Educated at a local comprehensive school, then the University of Oxfo
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