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on 31 July 2007
Jonathan Aitken has written an excellent biography, one of the best Christian biographies I have read. Newton is a great subject for a biography for he had a long and amazing life. Aitken is well qualified to write about "From Disgrace to Amazing Grace". He writes with style. His chapters are refeshingly short and to the point. The story is thrilling with "many dangers, toils and snare". One looses counts of the dangers from which the young Newton escapes. It is the story of a great sinner who was found by a great Saviour. Aitken tells the tale with real spiritual as well as historical undrstanding of his subject so that in concluion he can point the reader to spiritual lessons to be learned from Newton's life. For example. God's timing is not ours. Newton had to wait six years from applying, to be finally ordained as an Anglican minister. His marriage is an exemplary and touching story. Newtons spitiuality and prayer life are a real challenge. Aitken shows how faithful and inovatory Newton was as a pastor and how he helped many, especially his best friend William Cowper. Without Newton there would have neem no great poet only a forgotten suicide. Similarly, without Newton we would probably not have has Wilberforce, politician and reformer. Aitken also tells the story of Newton's famous hymn, its composition and rise to fame. Aitken faithfully relates Newton's faults too. His support of the American rebels had to be withdrawn but one is led to understand why many in England, especailly non-conformists, were suppporters of the rebels. Newton was an eirenic man who eschewed party labels and associated with Christian irrespective of denominational labels. This is a great biography and I hope we will have more from this fine Christian author.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 October 2007
The story of John Newton's life is one of my personal favorites. Like most of us, Newton's journey to his destiny was filled with false starts, obstacles, and a good deal of regret. Perhaps of all the biographies that I have read, the story of this man's life resonates most with me as genuinely truthful and truly inspiring.

Most people may not initially recognize the name of John Newton, that is until it is noted that he wrote the hymn Amazing Grace. Despite that it was written over 200 years ago, Amazing Grace is the most sung, most recorded, most played song ever. Not bad for a creation that was meant only to serve as a simplistic way to teach scripture to Newton's congregation in Olney.

Perhaps this song resonates so deeply with so many people because the words reflect John Newton's own extremely troubled life journey. Newton spent many years of his young adulthood completely lost. Career wise, he had no idea what he wanted to do and seemed bent on rebelling against everything that was given to him. The only thing he seemed to excel at was creating havoc. His greed and resentment led him to do horrible things including becoming a slaver.

After a series of what Newton perceived as divine interventions, the man slowly began realizing that he needed to change his life. After a lot of false starts, Newton turned his life around and dedicated himself to God's word. In his lifetime, he became a bestselling author bringing religious material to the masses. His frank testimony about his actions in the slave trade was also significant in the abolishment of slavery in Britain.
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on 20 February 2015
So far I am only a short way through the book, having regular interruptions, but each time I pick it up I get straight back into the read with enjoyment, which I would not say about all the books I read. Newtons life would make an amazing film, tho I suspect no one would touch it with having to put so much of his belief in God into it.
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on 3 October 2007
In the van of all the slavery films and books I read this biography with considerable interest. Jonathan Aitken tells a detailed story of the life of a great evangelical Christian. His work is thoroughly researched and authoritative - but I thought it lacked "punch". Perhaps that is because the subject - although thrilling enough - was more the religious life of Newton than his adventures.

Aitken portrays Newton in a sympathetic and scholarly way - but there are times when I feel he could have let his pen loose and exercised a little imagination to enliven the story for readers who - unlike myself - may want a good yarn first and authentic detail next.

The book portrays Newton in a way that leaves no doubt about his religious views and simple humanity - and for that I highly commend it - but it needs something to lift it into the realm of being more compelling. I read it thoroughly because I am interested in Newton - a more casual reader might find it heavy going. Nevertheless I highly commend it.
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on 3 June 2009
I wrote a lengthy review for this book which then disappeared after I had edited my name prior to previewing the review. Sorry folks. This book really is worth reading but I don't have the time to gather my thoughts and write the review again right now. Perhaps Amazon could let me know what went wrong?
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on 23 July 2014
My wife could not put this down and talks about John Newton continually. I have now started to read and this true life story is amazing. Jonathan Aitken has done a marvellous work here and this is a book is a must for all. Very readable and a great adventure story. You will not believe all a young man has been through in the first 25 years of his life. No wonder we still sing one of his greatest hymns known by so many around the world - Amazing Grace.
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on 7 July 2013
Graet to hear how God used this man for his glory, and his influence and guidence, wisdom and faithfulness in his Christian faith
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on 2 December 2012
I couldn't put this book down. It is absolutely fascinating, a good historical record and insight into John Newton and the times in which he lived.
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on 4 January 2013
Jonathan Aitken has done a fine job here. His biography is comprehensive and well researched but it is also a thoroughly good read.
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on 17 March 2014
This is a well researched biography of one of Christianity's key figures, the composer of the song Amazing Grace. A good read and highly recommended.
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