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

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9780007228867: William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner
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William Hague has written the life of William Wilberforce who was both a staunch conservative and a tireless campaigner against the slave trade.

Hague shows how Wilberforce, after his agonising conversion to evangelical Christianity, was able to lead a powerful tide of opinion, as MP for Hull, against the slave trade, a process which was to take up to half a century to be fully realised. Indeed, he succeeded in rallying to his cause the support in the Commons Debates of some the finest orators in Parliament, having become one of the most respected speakers of those times.

Hague examines twenty three crucial years in British political life during which Wilberforce met characters as varied as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Tsar Alexander of Russia, and the one year old future Queen Victoria who used to play at his feet. He was friend and confidant of Pitt, Spencer Perceval and George Canning. He saw these figures raised up or destroyed in twenty three years of war and revolution.

Hague presents us with a man who teemed with contradictions: he took up a long list of humanitarian causes, yet on his home turf would show himself to be a firm supporter of the instincts, interests and conservatism of the Yorkshire freeholders who sent him to Parliament.

William Hague's masterful study of this remarkable and pivotal figure in British politics brings to life the great triumphs and shattering disappointments he experienced in his campaign against the slave trade, and shows how immense economic, social and political forces came to join together under the tireless persistence of this unique man.

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Review:

'The author has produced a splendid read for which he deserves the utmost credit. He tells Wilberforce's story with such enthusiasm and narrative skill that, in this bicentennial year, his book seems assured of bestsellerdom. I put it down liking Hague as much as I was moved by his tale, one of the most remarkable in British political history.' Sunday Times

'An authoritative account of a remarkable life.' Sunday Times

'A fine, informative tribute.' Observer

'A superb biography.' Daily Express

'An enthusiastic and balanced portrayal of an appealing figure.' Sunday Telegraph

'Gripping...absorbing...the definitive biography.' Daily Mail

'Informed by a nuanced sense of what was and was not politically possible at that moment...lucid and convincing...gripping.' Daily Telegraph

‘William Hague has assumed from Roy Jenkins the mantle of Britain's foremost politician-biographer. This magnificent biography of William Wilberforce succeeds his good debut life of William Pitt...his achievement goes far beyond an attractive prose style and meticulously accurate historical re-recreation. The insights drawn from a wide parliamentary and political experience bring to life the genius of the great anti-slave trade campaigner in a wholly new and vivid way.’ Evening Standard

The Times:

'Both subject and author of this book are excellent company.'

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780007228850: William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner

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ISBN 10:  0007228856 ISBN 13:  9780007228850
Publisher: HarperPress, 2007
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