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Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  4,946 ratings  ·  720 reviews
Amazing Grace tells the story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759–1833). This accessible biography chronicles Wilberforce's extraordinary role as a human rights activist, cultural reformer, and member of Parliament.

At the center of this heroic life was a passionate twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, a battle Wilbe
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by HarperOne (first published 2007)
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,946 ratings  ·  720 reviews

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Jason Koivu
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Amazing Grace is a biography written with WAAAY more cheek than I expected!

The slight and frail English gentleman William Wilberforce...


...was the heroic and eloquent man at the head of the push to abolish the slave trade.

Wilberforce is a name not well known in America as perhaps it may be in England. Right or wrong, we Americans think "Lincoln" when we think of the end of slavery. Of course, slavery continues to this day. Eric Metaxas' Amazing Grace does an admirable job in reminding us who d
Natalie Vellacott
I'm not sure where this book came from, but it was worth reading. It is a comprehensive biography of the life and work of William Wilberforce. It was especially interesting to learn more about his personal life and character. There is a lot of historical detail which stems the flow in places, but will be of interest to some. Wilberforce's perseverance in the cause of abolition is impressive and exhausting! The biographer makes it clear that it is rooted in his Christian faith although there is l ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I went 4 stars on this book, and then went back and gave it 5. As far as "literary rating" or readability I'd say that I liked Mr. Metaxes' book on Bonhoeffer a little better. Again that's in readability. This book tends to have a lot of detail about the world and time of William Wilberforce that doesn't relate directly to the "main" topic ("The Heroic Campaign to End Slavery) but does relate to him, his life, and touches on the main topic peripherally. While it tends (at times) to slow the narr ...more
Excellent delightful narrator: Johnny Heller. Did the voices to extent that I recognized he was doing voices but not to extent of sounding cheesy.

Eric MetMetaxas writes a psychological biology. He gives the reader an in-depth understanding of parents, family, foster parents, schoolmates, his particular life-long friend William Pitt, the Younger

The book is heavily directed towards US Americans. In the parts where Metaxas describes young Wilberforce's worldview and where Metaxas describes the on-g
Wow, this book is truly amazing. And I almost had to skip over parts because of the descriptions of the horrible brutality that the slaves in the West Indies were subjected to. I'm just in awe of William Wilberforce and the men who fought so hard and so long (year after year in the British Parliament, through Napoleon's war, etc.) to get the abolition laws to pass. And once they finally had a victory, the years and decades spent to reinforce those laws and to create support for the displaced sla ...more
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was as thorough as a history and as intimate as a diary. After reading I felt like I knew the man as well as the cause. Some passages are laborious, especially as the reading nears the end and anticipates the climatic ending. Very enjoyable to revisit a most important historical movement.
Jamie Collins
This is an enthusiastic hagiography, an easy-breezy read with a strong Christian perspective. It’s a little preachy, actually, with corny jokes thrown in to keep the congregation engaged. I enjoyed the book pretty well, but I didn’t know Metaxas was primarily a writer of religious works or I’d have chosen a more scholarly, objective biography. This has a bibliography but no index or cited sources.

It has a nice set of illustrations: portraits of Wilberforce and his notable associates, a copy of t
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
D.L. Moody said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” I think he was wrong. William Wilberforce was such a man, and Eric Metaxas captured his story beautifully. If you've never heard of Wilberforce, who waged a decades-long campaign to abolish the slave trade (and eventually Slavery itself) in the British Empire in the 18th and early 19th centuries, this book is a highly accessible and rewarding introduction.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Brazilliant
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May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this one - fascinating subject and an easy read. Amazing to read what Wilberforce achieved against all odds and interesting historically with it's references to the American Wars of Independence, French revolution, Napoleon and Kings George III and IV. Wilberforce not only abolished slavery but also changed the way of thinking of his generation and helped to transform the church.
Todd Miles
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book is fantastic. I am embarrassed that I am waited so long to read it. Metaxes, as I already knew, is a remarkable writer, but this might be his best effort.
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Metaxas has a fun writing style, including a great sense of humor. When it was almost a fad to be reading his biography of Bonhoeffer, I decided I wasn't that interested, but after having listened to the audio version of his biography of Wilberforce, I'm considering looking into the Bonhoeffer bio as well.

What a great story of perseverance—decades of struggle to whip the moral conscience of a nation into shape. Metaphorically speaking.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Biographies just don't get better than this. Loved every second. Eric Metaxes is a fabulous writer and William Wilberforce is the ideal hero. Wilberforce wrestles with what it means to be a Christian and then comes to the realization that to live his religion to the fullest, he must abolish the slave trade in England. And he does.

I highly recommend it.
Rick Dobrowolski
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Eric Metaxes is an excellent biographer who also utilizes the English language in a compelling way.
Jeff Short
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Excellent book. Things slowed up a bit toward the end, as life usually does, but I mostly did not want to put it down. Aside from being a well-written, well-researched book, this is an important book. Wilberforce's life deserves to be more widely known. I came into the book knowing that he was key in the fight for the abolition of the slave trade in England in the early nineteenth century, but that was about all. I am thankful to know better now.

His life has many lessons for us--faith, persevera
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
[Disclaimer: This review covers only chapter 1]

I was excited to start this book; Metaxas is an engaging writer and Wilberforce has long been a favorite of mine. That said, I'm putting it down after the introductory chapter. I believe Wilberforce was a good, and even potentially great, man. I believe he made important contributions to society--both in Britain and worldwide.

Yet Metaxas' praise is embarrassingly over the top: Wilberforce as the pivot of history? (Personally, I thought that moment
Garrett  Clawson
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic overview of Wilberforce's life and his contributions to making the British Empire more just than he found it. While I do not endorse Metaxas or his political views, I found this work to be inspiring and convicting as I too seek to lay my life down to see the flourishing of the marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed. Despite opposition and defeat, Wilberforce ran his race well and sought to use his privilege and resources to defend the voiceless. C.S. Lewis once said, "If you read hi ...more
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Amazing Grace (2006)

Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce, Romola Garai as Barbara Spooner, Benedict Cumberbatch as William Pitt and Albert Finney as John Newton.

Available at You Tube

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Robin Hatcher
I saw the movie that was inspired by this biography without knowing there was a book first. The film became a favorite that I have watched many, many times. Naturally, in reading the book I discovered many places where Hollywood took liberties with the facts of Wilberforce's life. However, it did not fictionalize the amazing work of this man who led the charge to abolish the slave trade and eventually end slavery throughout the British empire.

Eric Metaxas is a wonderful biographer. His book Bonh
Claire Haynie
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book truly inspired me to consider a life in public service. To learn of William Wilberforce's devotion to ending slavery as well as the other horrific practices of his day, and how he gave his energy and life to these causes, was very touching. I am completely in awe of the depth of study that the author undertook and he wove it like an organic story which I truly enjoyed, though there were so many people he mentioned that I found myself getting a tad confused at times. Overall. Amazing.
Amber Spencer
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story of a privileged young man who changed his heart and focus in his life for others is fantastic! He gave his whole life to put an end to slavery in Britain and helped change the whole outlook on those “less than us” that was so prevalent at that time. He championed the rights of all people and animals and did so with so much kindness and goodness in his heart.
Jul 24, 2009 rated it liked it

William Wilberforce was clearly a remarkable fellow. A physically small man (5’3” , 33” chest) with poor eyesight and constant physical ailments who stood up to the moneyed-interests of his day: the British slave trade. And won. Think David and Goliath. Apparently Wilberforce was one of the first to devote himself seriously to religion and then make that the basis of political action and social reforming rather than a traditional life in the church.

I saw the movie and if there is one major diff
Joshua Polk
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, history
William Wilberforce was the greatest social reformer in known world history. Due, in large part, to his efforts, the British and French slave trades were abolished and eventually all slavery in British-owned lands was eliminated. As if this was not enough, he was largely responsible for addressing the penal system woes of Great Britain and bringing an end to the legitimacy of child prostitution. Metaxas presents this story expertly and with a clear passion for the subject material. This is one o ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've read books about good people before. The kind of people that you silently root for as you move through the pages. But only a few of these good characters lived their lives in a way that showed that their lives were not their own. William Wilberforce was one of these characters. He would be the first to tell us that he was perfect only through the blood of Christ. Yet this sinner lived a life that would do any of us well to model. The last 50 to 100 pages were tough for me, not because of th ...more
Taylor Guffey
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this. William Wilberforce continues to serve as a role model of Christ-like servitude and undying ambition toward more than one worthy cause. I hope to someday visit his grave and reread the inscription on his tomb to commemorate a life well lived and remind myself of the importance of humility and action in standing up for those who are unable to do so for themselves.
ruth ann christensen
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone needs to read this description of a true hero whose life work truly did change the world.
Great Book Study
Definitely inspirational. My review:Amazing Grace
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, nonfiction
not only learned history of slave trade & abolishment of slavery in Britain but on the man that made it possible. felt like I was there & knew he personally. excellent job!!
Nathan Albright
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2018
I actually read this book once before, more than a decade ago, before watching the excellent movie based on the life of William Wilberforce, but it was before the time I wrote reviews, and so I thought it worthwhile to read this book again.  Wilberforce was a historical figure, a longtime English parliamentarian, who is among the most intriguing people in the history of Christian involvement in politics, and this book does a good job of putting the man and his time under the microscope for reade ...more
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Wanting to Lean about William Wilberforce and the Abolition of Slavery in Great Britain
Recommended to Julianna by: Readers Against Prejudice & Racism
I found Amazing Grace to be a very informative biography of William Wilberforce, arguably the main person responsible for the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain and a name that should be more well-known than it is. Not too surprisingly, it also takes a historical look at that campaign, and the entire process the abolitionists went through to finally achieve their goal. Mr. Wilberforce was a man of strong faith, and the author focuses a lot on how that faith informed his decision to be ...more
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The Period Drama ...: Amazing Grace 2 8 Jun 14, 2015 02:42PM  

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In a decidedly eclectic career, Eric Metaxas has written for VeggieTales, Chuck Colson, Rabbit Ears Productions and the New York Times, four things not ordinarily in the same sentence. He is a best-selling author whose biographies, children’s books, and works of popular apologetics have been translated into more than 25 languages.
“He well knew his mind's natural tendency to be endlessly on a thousand subjects at once, to flit from this to that and to the next thing to no particular purpose--indeed, he called it his "butterfly mind.” 22 likes
“Taken all together, it’s difficult to escape the verdict that William Wilberforce was simply the greatest social reformer in the history of the world.” 9 likes
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