Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More

Hannah More was a poet, a playwright, a novelist and a reformer. She was a contemporary of John Newton, David Garrick and also William Wilberforce. And, until I heard about this new biography from Karen Swallow Prior, I had never heard of her.

John Newton and William Wilberforce were both people I was already familiar with. Wilberforce was recognized as the leader of the British abolitionist movement and he was influenced particularly by John Newton's accounts of slavery and pleas to end the brutal practice. The Clapham Sect were a group of Christian social reformers who shared the common views around the liberation of slaves and abolishing the slave trade. After many years of hard work in British society and in Parliament the Slave Trade Act in 1807 finally banned slave trading throughout the British Empire, and eventually led to the emancipation of British slaves with the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 (incidentally, just weeks before Hannah More's death). Along with Hannah More, the Clapham Sect was led by many influential businessmen, authors, and even members of Parliament. One of the most influential group of social reformers of the 18th century included among its leaders, a woman. That alone is phenomenal considering the mores of British society of the day.

This book provides a well-written account of the life of a very important person who was involved in the reformation of British society in the late 18th century. Hannah More was heavily involved in not only ending slavery, but helped popularize the Sunday School Movement, legitimized the role of female authors and fought for the educational reform for women. This biography is engaging and well written. The introductory chapters lay an excellent foundation and as the story unfolded, I could not put the book down.

I love biographies, but even if you are not an avid reader of biographies, this book deserves to be read. As a student of history, I have studied British history of the late 18th century, and managed to have never heard of Hannah More. That isn't the case now. I was inspired by this story of a godly woman who lived her life according to Scripture which founded her own fierce convictions.

Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

I was provided this book by the publisher through the Book-look blogger program for review purposes. Although I was provided the book for free, I was not required to give a positive review, and my opinions are my own.

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