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British Abolitionists

Curiously, there are not yet enough good biographies of British abolitionists. The following four are exceptions to that rule. You can click on the links or book covers and order them from Amazon - or you can just read my review.

  William Hague, William Wilberforce
Hague seems to be making a career of writing about Tory politicians called William (See also his biography of Pitt the Younger). His life of Wilberforce is engaging and enjoyable, although perhaps a little too uncritical of Wilberforce for some tastes, and is grounded in a thorough understanding of eighteenth-century political life. This is a reliable popular biography of Wilberforce.
Vincent Carretta, Equiano the African: Biography of a Self Made Man
Carretta is the world expert on Olaudah Equiano, and he has produced a definitive biography that will be read for many years to come. His account displays a wealth of detailed research, is sometimes controversial in its conclusions, yet remains readable and enjoyable throughout. Essential reading for everyone interested in eighteenth-century literature and culture.
  Jonathan Aitken, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
The subject and the subtitle point to Aitken's sense of identification with Newton and, accordingly, this is an extremely sympathetic account of Newton's journey from slave-trader to Evangelical Christian and abolitionist author. But the book is scholarly and well-written and deserves to be taken seriously as a contribution to the debate about British abolitionism.
Anne Stott, Hannah More: the First Victorian
This is the first major biography of Hannah More—the foremost female abolitionist and close friend of William Wilberforce—and provides a fascinating insight into the life of one of the most influential women of her age. The result of many years careful research, this engagingly written book will satisfy both scholars and general readers. Highly recommended.

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* This page last updated 17 September 2007 *