Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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 deserves the credit in passing the laws that put an end to the legalized trade in human lives.
It is a noble subject, but Metaxas actually uses sarcasm and like humor nearly through out and, while funny at times, it's off-putting in a biography. Perhaps he felt the subject matter needed levity. Perhaps he looked to capture Wilberforce's own gay sense of humor. Whatever the reason, it didn't always set well with this reader.
From the title it should be readily apparent that religion (in this case Methodism) will be given a feature role. While not a puritanical prude from start to finish, Wilberforce was heavily influenced by his faith and let it guide him in many of his life's choices. From the book's tone, I would guess Metaxas is, if not Methodist, at least a like-minded Christian. He writes with an obvious bias. It's almost completely transparent at times with very little reading between the lines necessary. That swamps integrity in my book. However, when it comes to non-fiction, for some reason biographers are often allowed a long leash when it comes to balanced, fair and honest journalism.
At heart, I would call the above faults, but I managed to overlook them and if you too can stomach an agenda not your own, then Amazing Grace will ring in your heart the chimes of glorious freedom! Or at least it will be a worthy read on a worthy man. Either way, it's worth your while.
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