Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Fierce Opinions by Karen Swallow Prior

 In this book, the author, who is also a professor for English at Liberty University, introduces the reader to the life and work of Hannah More. While I am familiar with the major players in abolitionist history, I have never heard of Hannah More before reading this book. Hannah More lived in England; she died there in 1833. Maybe it is the fact that she lived and acted in England that I have never heard of her before the book, but Hannah More belonged to the Clapham Sect of abolitionist. This group included several reform-minded people belonging to the Church of England, all living in relative wealth and bound by shared political views, in particular their opposition to slavery.

But back to Hannah More, who was also an accomplished playwright and started a school for women. To this day, you may find Hannah More schools throughout the US that are named after Hannah More in part because of her philanthropic activity.

I loved learning about an abolitionist that lived in England because you can tell that not experiencing slavery first hand, I believe, gives Hannah More a slightly different angle in the abolitionist struggle. Her arguments seem more intellectually inspired. I find them more like a religious discourse that tries to convince you through reason and by making you think, which is interesting. I view the American abolitionist often as more emotional, and so to me the Hannah More approach was just an interesting new take on how to convince others about a social wrong. Both approaches proved successful in the end and Hannah More was definitely ahead of her time in some of the social thinking she showe.d Despite her upper class standing, which came through in some of the opinions, she was convinced that education for all is good and maybe an extension of that attitude was her desire to ensure freedom for all, which made her one of the abolitionists in England.

If you are interested in history, in particular women's history, this book will provide a good example of how women, even if they cannot be termed revolutionary, can bring about change in their own way. Hannah More founded schools and tried to convince others that slavery is wrong. To me, this book provided a new and existing aspect of the abolitionist fight against slavery and I am glad I was able to read this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through booksneeze.com for review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

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