FRIEND WILLIAM by Willard M. Wallace


Email this review


This is a simpler, more direct narration of the formative years of William Penn's life than this season's other Penn biography by Catherine Peare which was an adaptation of her earlier adult book. But the later years, in America, are given only cursory treatment. And to young American readers events in this country are probably of more interest. Willard Wallace makes very clear the boyhood years when William's father, Admiral Penn, antagonized Oliver Cromwell by offering to sell out to Charles Stuart. Admiral Penn was in effect exiled in Ireland in 1656 and if was there that William's religious sympathies for the English Quakers were aroused. Father and son argued bitterly but William took the non-conformist view then and later at Oxford where his attitudes caused his expulsion. After Cromwell's death Admiral Penn returned to England and to favor. Quaker persecutions disturbed William but he took advantage of the debt which Charles II owed his father to procure land in America to found the settlement which bears his name. Narration of these events is and cogent and the length of the biography is suitable for juvenile readers and at a reading level which will enable more youngsters to grasp the essentials than the more comprehensive and scholarly Peare biography.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1958
Publisher: Nelson