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JohnWoolman was one of the most significant Americans of the
eighteenth century, though he was not a famous politician, general,
scientist, or man of letters, and he never held public office. This
superb book makes it clear why he mattered so much.
tailor known at first only to the other Quakers who encountered him at
meetings in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New England, Woolman became a
prophetic voice for the entire Anglo-American world when he spoke out
against the evils of slavery.Thomas P. Slaughter's deft, dramatic
narrative reveals how it was that the mysticWoolman became an
unforgettable public figure, his gospel infused with a benign confidence
that ordinary people could achieve spiritual perfection. Placing
Woolman in the full context of his times, Slaughter paints the portrait
of a hero--and not just for the Quakers, social reformers, labor
organizers, socialists, and peace advocates who have long admired
Dec 19, 2013This is a penetrating study to say the least. This humble Quaker from New Jersey had a domino-like influence on Quakers and then on society as well. Great movements for social justice had to begin somewhere and Woolman was a starting point for many of them. Slaughter does a good job of analyzing his inspirations, which can be linked to Jesus Christ and the early Christians.
Jul 29, 2008John Woolman was a Quaker lived in New Jersey before the Revolutionary War. Best known for his effective advocacy of anti-slavery among Quakers (who banned it among their members not long after his death). He was also a mystic and a remarkable St Francis type. This bio is gentle, slow moving, thoughtful.
Sep 05, 2013Yes gentle slow and thought provoking, just as a fine bio should be. A book to be savored.
Dec 02, 2015John Woolman was an interesting man an itinerant man of all trades who hated the institution of slavery. He made coded overtures that slaves were right to resist unjust masters, but mostly Woolman preached about slavery as a moral evil. So you get sort of a portrait of abolitionism without actual abolition. Still, Woolman put his beliefs into practice on a personal level, rejecting any substance produced by slave labor. This is a very thorough analysis of Woolman's writings and life story, John Woolman was an interesting man — an itinerant man of all trades who hated the institution of slavery. He made coded overtures that slaves were right to resist unjust masters, but mostly Woolman preached about slavery as a moral evil. So you get sort of a portrait of abolitionism without actual abolition. Still, Woolman put his beliefs into practice on a personal level, rejecting any substance produced by slave labor. This is a very thorough analysis of Woolman's writings and life story, although I would have liked additional context about the British Empire and Atlantic seaboard in which Woolman lived. Slaughter to a great degree skims over Woolman's belief that whites and blacks were unequal, which detracts from a full analysis of Woolman. For more on Woolman's racial beliefs, see Geoffrey Plank's 2012 book on Woolman, or Maurice Jackson's biography of Anthony Benezet, Woolman's friend and collaborator. ...more
May 02, 2013I was interrupted for a long time while reading this book. I need to read it again to write a thoughtful review.
Sep 22, 2008This book spends far too much time recounting Woolman's theological arguments. If I'd wanted that, I'd have read the Journal.
Nov 08, 2014Boring. Tons of historical context and analysis, very skimpy on actual life story. Needed an introduction. Failed to convince me of Woolman's significance. I gave up halfway through.
Apr 21, 2009This book does a thorough job exploring likely cultural and spiritual influences on a devout and influential 18th Century Quaker American.
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