Once Blind: The Life of John Newton by Kay Marshall Strom

Once Blind: The Life of John Newton
Kay Marshall Strom
Authentic Publishing (2008)
ISBN 9781934068274
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (7/08)


“Once Blind” isn’t the typical book you will read about Sir John Newton. Ms. Strom gives us interesting information on his life growing up, failures and successes that had an impact on his life.

John Newton came from a family where his mother pampered him, led him to believing in God and good deeds; while his father, a sea-going captain, pushed him away, and thought he was a sissy.  John became very wild, instigating trouble wherever he went.

John wanted to go to sea with his father to show him he could be a good sailor and the son he always wanted. At age 11 he got that chance, but it didn’t go the way he thought it would; he was constantly in trouble, being chastised by his father and hated by other sailors.

As John got older, he was given the opportunity to be captain of a ship – a slave ship. At this time in history slaves were treated no better than the lowest animals on earth. But John thought he would have a better chance of getting all his slaves to ports to sell if he treated them better. Each day he would allow the slaves to come on deck, eat good food, get exercise and fresh air. His crew thought he was crazy, but he did in fact get all slaves to port without any losses.

“Once Blind: The Life of John Newton” is an amazing story that most will never know about, how a dishonest, boisterous man became a man of God and someone who helped put a stop to slave trade. In the end John became a preacher in an independent church and tried to make-up for his early beginnings. Everyone should read this book.

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