Read More, Learn More – April 2012 Book List

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas (HarperOne, 2007)

Amazing Grace is based on the true story of William Wilberforce, a British statesman and reformer from the early part of the 19th century. It chronicles his extraordinary contributions to the world, primarily his 20-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, which he won in 1807. He was also instrumental in passing legislation to abolish slavery in the British colonies, a victory he won just three days before his death in 1833. He was a hero to Abraham Lincoln and an inspiration to the anti-slavery movement in America. America needs to become reacquainted with this moral hero.

In 1784 Wilberforce had a conversion experience. He joined the Clapham Set, a group of pious and activist members of the Anglican Church, centered around John Venn, rector of Clapham Church in London. As a result of this conversion, Wilberforce became interested in social reform and was eventually approached by Lady Middleton to use his power as an MP to bring an end to the slave trade. Wilberforce became one of the leader of the anti-slave trade movement. Most of Wilberforce’s Tory colleagues in the House of Commons were opposed to any restrictions on the slave trade and at first he had to rely on the support of Whigs. When William Wilberforce presented his first bill to abolish the slave trade in 1791 it was easily defeated by 163 votes to 88. Wilberforce refused to be beaten and in 1805 the House of Commons passed a bill that made it unlawful for any British subject to transport slaves, but the measure was blocked by the House of Lords. In February 1806, Lord Grenville formed a Whig administration. Grenville and his Foreign Secretary, Charles Fox, were strong opponents of the slave trade. Fox and Wilberforce led the campaign in the House of Commons, whereas Grenville had the task of persuading the House of Lords to accept the measure. When the vote was taken the Abolition of the Slave Trade bill was passed in the House of Lords by 41 votes to 20. In the House of Commons it was carried by 114 to 15 and it became law on 25th March, 1807.  Unfortunately, the passing of this legislation did not put an end to the practice of slave trading. Even though British captains who were caught continuing the trade were fined L100 for every slave found on board, captains often reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering the slaves to be thrown into the sea. William Wilberforce died on 29th July, 1833 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. One month later, Parliament passed what Wilberforce had dedicated his life toward; they passed the Slavery Abolition Act that gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.

About the Author: Eric Metaxas is the New York Times bestselling author whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Regeneration Quarterly, Christianity Today, National Review Online, Beliefnet and First Things. The American Booksellers Association chose Metaxas’s The Birthday ABC as a 1995 Pick of the List and honored his Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving with their Number One Bestseller Award for Thanksgiving 1999. He has been featured numerous times on CNN, The Fox News Channel and other television networks, and has been a guest on NPR. He is the founder and host of Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life, a monthly event of entertaining and thought provoking discussions. His most recent book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

From Congress to the Brothels: A Journey of Hope, Healing, and Restoration by Linda Smith (Shared Hope International, 1984)

Walk with Linda as she relives her life-altering experience of seeing children in cage-like conditions – offered for sex in one of the world’s worst brothel districts. Her journey of horror and hope began in Mumbai, India and has led her around the world. Read this extraordinary book and encounter the truth of child sex slavery around the globe. You will meet several of the victims and encounter their astonishing, heart-rending accounts . . . but you will also witness their thrilling transformations. This is a shocking story – at times, you may want to turn away – yet it is a story of real hope, the kind of hope that changes the world. It may even change you.

About the Author: President and Founder of Shared Hope International. In 1998, while a member of the U.S. Congress, Linda Smith traveled to Falkland Road in Mumbai, India – one of the worst brothel districts in the world. The hopeless faces of desperate women and children forced into prostitution compelled Linda to found Shared Hope International. Believing that authentic rescue requires restoration also, Linda focused Shared Hope’s efforts around “one life at a time” and what it would take to make that life whole again – a safe home, education, spiritual renewal, and life skills. From the first Village of Hope until today, Linda has kept Shared Hope aligned with that goal. To build momentum in the international anti-trafficking movement, Linda founded the War Against Trafficking Alliance (WATA) in January of 2001, which two years later co-sponsored a World Summit with the U.S. Department of State. Government leaders and local service providers from 114 nations came together to collaborate on regional strategies for protecting the vulnerable from the sex trade.

Slave Hunter: One Man’s Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking by Aaron Cohen (Gallery Books, 2009)

From living the rock star life to wading through the world’s war zones, refugee camps, and brothels, Aaron Cohen left behind his closest friends, his dying father, and his partnership with a legendary musician to take on treacherous rescue missions in search of modern-day slaves. Years of drug addiction and late-night partying led Aaron Cohen, one-time best friend and business partner to Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, on a path of spiritual discovery that has both transformed and endangered his life — a path that has drawn him into the shantytowns of Cambodia and the hidden brothels of Latin America, across the sweltering savannahs of Sudan, up to the Dalai Lama’s Himalayan retreat, and through the unforgiving jungles of Burma and the deserts of Iraq. At a time when more people than ever before are enslaved somewhere on the planet, Aaron Cohen is a slave hunter — working to find and free human beings from various forms of bondage.

The flesh trade is the world’s fastest-growing and most deadly illegal enterprise — even more profitable and easier to hide than guns, drugs, and precious gems. Free from diplomatic restrictions and political agendas, Cohen is a unique asset to government agencies, think tanks, and anti-slavery organizations. He navigates the oppressive territory of pimps and drug lords, cloaked in the all-too-familiar world of substance abuse, oversized egos, and changing rules. Working alone and posing as a sex tourist, he slips into brothels, urged by madams to select from a lineup of women and girls as young as six. Sometimes he can save them from their captors, but more often than not, he must leave them behind, taking only the evidence he hopes will eventually lead to their rescue.

Struggling to make ends meet on his own negligible salary, Cohen faces temptations few could resist and witnesses atrocities his friends and family cannot understand. And though many assignments over the years carry him away from his ailing father, his commitment to protect, assist, and empower human trafficking victims — and to disrupt the patterns that lead to all forms of enslavement — is unyielding. In a remarkable exposé of a sinister trade most of us will never experience first-hand, rocker-turned-antislavery activist Aaron Cohen reveals the fast-paced, timely, inspiring, and unforgettable story of a real life Slave Hunter.

About the Author: Aaron Cohen has been a teen water polo star, a member of Jane’s Addiction, a recovering addict, spiritually re-awakened, a co-founder of the “Drop the Debt” campaign, and bestowed with the Prize for Humanity by the Immortal Chaplains Foundation for his dangerous, official undercover work rescuing human trafficking victims in Africa, the Middle East, South America, and southeast Asia.

This Immoral Trade: Slavery in the 21st Century by Baroness Caroline Cox and Dr. John Marks (Monarch Books, 2006)

Based on her compelling and convincing report to the British House of Lords, this high-profile advocate for the world’s poorest victims offers an urgent call to action for Christians worldwide.

This Immoral Trade was emotionally difficult to read. Rape, murder, and bondage cause the victim’s voices to cry out from within its pages and grip our heart. If you can get through the documented information and photos without tears of compassion, or are able to stay the screams of outrage that rise in your throat at the injustices being carried out every minute of every day, then you probably don’t deserve the precious freedom you are now enjoying . . . . If you want to find out more about present-day slavery, I suggest you read This Immoral Trade. This is a 5-star, thought provoking read. (Jan Warren )

About the Author: Baroness Caroline Cox was until recently deputy speaker of the British House of Lords and a well-known campaigner for human rights.
Dr. John Marks OBE is a researcher and campaigner in the field of human rights, with a particular expertise in modern Islam

To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today’s Slaves edited by Kevin Bales and Zoe Trodd (Cornell University Press, 2008)

“If anyone thinks slavery is a horror buried long in the past, or barbarism that always happens ‘somewhere else,’ this collection of narratives punctures both of those as myths. Kevin Bales and Zoe Trodd have produced a crucial volume for our times, in which modern slaves bear witness to the brutal institution with candor, eloquence, and pain. This book can and should effect change.”–Henry Louis Gates Jr. “To Plead Our Own Cause gives voice to some of the most voiceless on the planet. The breadth of these gut-wrenching stories from all over the globe is impressive and informative. Kevin Bales and Zoe Trodd have made a valuable and unique contribution to the literature on contemporary slavery and traffic; this book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in slavery, globalization, ethnicity, human rights, or criminal behavior.”–David Kyle, University of California, Davis

About the Author: Kevin Bales is Emeritus Professor at Roehampton University, and Visiting Professor at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation. A world expert on modern slavery and a leading force in the anti-slavery movement, he is the president of Free the Slaves and the author of Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.

Zoe Trodd is a member of the Tutorial Board in History and Literature at Harvard University. Her books include Meteor of War: The John Brown Story and American Protest Literature

Discussion Questions


One thought on “Read More, Learn More – April 2012 Book List

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s