Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce
NavPress, 418 pages, $24
Kevin Belmonte, director of the Wilberforce Project at Gordon College, makes a compelling case for how faith can change the direction of government and history. Born into a privileged family in 1759, William Wilberforce was elected to Parliament as a young adult and soon, through the influence of friends, William became convinced of the truth claims of Christianity.
Belmonte painstakingly documents how Wilberforce used his position to effect social change, from his tireless work to abolish the slave trade to reforming British manners and morals. He also offers copious insights into Wilberforce's personal habits, his literary tastes, his numerous friendships, and his love for his family. Belmonte's admiration for Wilberforce shines throughout the book, and he puts a positive spin on anything that might call Wilberforce's character into question.
The decision to organize the book topically, rather than chronologically (and with a generous amount of quoted material and heavy referencing noted numerically in the text) makes significant demands of the lay reader. Still, students of history and those interested in faith in the public square will find much to contemplate in this comprehensive biography.
Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce is available at Christianbook.com.
For more on Wilberforce, see Christian History issue #53, "William Wilberforce and the Abolition of the Slave Trade." Last fall, Christian History Corner featured Wilberforce in a discussion of "ordinary saints" in wartime.
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