John Wesley led the Second English Reformation. His Methodist 'Connexion' was divided from the Church of England, not by dogma and doctrine but by the new relationship which it created between clergy and people. Throughout a life tortured by doubt about true faith and tormented by a series of bizarre relationships with women, Wesley kept his promise to 'live and die an ordained priest of the Established Church'. However by the end of the long pilgrimage - from the Oxford Holy Club through colonial Georgia to every market place in England - he knew that separation was inevitable. But he could not have realised that his influence on the new industrial working class would play a major part in shaping society during the century of Britain's greatest power and influence and that Methodism would become a worldwide religion and the inspiration of 20th century television evangelism.
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(157mm x 200mm x 31mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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UK Kirkus Review »
On 9 February 1709 Epworth Rectory in Lincolnshire, home of the Rector Samuel Wesley, his wife Susanna and their growing brood of children, was burned to the ground. It was only when they counted the children that Samuel and Susanna discovered one was missing: six-year-old John. By then the flames were so fierce it was impossible for anyone to go back into the house. It isn't clear how, eventually, John managed to escape on his own but it was typical of his later strength and determination that he did. Young as he was, John Wesley firmly believed that his survival was a miracle - that he was 'a brand plucked from the burning' because God had work for him to do. He was not handsome, and his personal relationships - especially with women - were disastrous, but he had charisma, and his unwavering conviction that he had been called to do God's work drew to him increasingly big crowds, whom he gave something to live for. He was amazingly tough, often riding from early morning until late at night, stopping off to preach three or four times a day to followers who became known as Methodists. Wesley had no desire to found a separate church. At heart he was always a Church of England man, like his father, but in the end the differences between his views of the relationship between clergy and people and those of the established church became too great. By his death at the age of 85 Methodism had grown into a worldwide organization that changed the shape of society and had an incalculable effect on the development of the Industrial Revolution and Britain's imperial role. Roy Hattersley's research into Wesley's complicated story is meticulous; his view of a man who could be irritating as well as laudable is dispassionate, but often admiring. This is a serious but eminently readable biography which throws new light on the British social and religious scene. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Roy Hattersley
Roy Hattersley is a politician-turned-writer. He was elected to Parliament in 1964, and served in each of Harold Wilson's governments as well as Jim Callaghan's Cabinet before becoming deputy leader of the Labour Party in 1983. He is the author of fourteen books.