• This is a photo of a student reading the bookAmazing Grace.

    New campus read program

    The Harding Read program will begin fall 2016.

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  • This is a photo of President Bruce McLarty holding the book Amazing Grace with many students in the background.

    Harding Read 2016

    Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas

Harding Read 2016

A campus read program called Harding Read will begin fall 2016. The American Studies Institute, Brackett Library and First Year Experience contributed ideas to the creation of the program, which encourages the campus community to read a book together and engage both in and out of the classroom.

The book selected for the 2016-17 school year is Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas.

Incoming students will be introduced to it at Summer Stampede, the entire student body will be exposed to it in chapel throughout the year, and alumni will be invited to online discussion groups. When young people come to college, they expect to be exposed to deep thoughts, important issues and grand ideas. Harding Read 2016 is an opportunity for the entire Harding community – students, faculty, staff, alumni and administration – to join together on what promises to be a thrilling journey with Amazing Grace.

Program info

About the book

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery tells the story of the remarkable life of the British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833). This biography chronicles Wilberforce’s extraordinary role as a human rights activist, cultural reformer and member of Parliament. At the center of this heroic life was a passionate twenty-year fight to abolish the British slave trade, a battle Wilberforce won in 1807, as well as efforts to abolish slavery itself in the British colonies, a victory achieved just three days before his death in 1833.

About the author

Eric Metaxas is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of “Bonhoeffer,” “Miracles,” “Seven Women, “ “Seven Men,” “Amazing Grace,” and “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty.” He has written more than 30 children’s books, including the bestsellers “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving” and It’s Time to Sleep, My Love,” illustrated by Nancy Tillman.

He is the host of the Eric Metaxas Show, a nationally syndicated radio program heard in more than 120 cities around the U.S. featuring in-depth interviews with a wide variety of guests. Metaxas speaks to thousands around the U.S. and internationally each year. He was the keynote speaker at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., an event attended by the President and First Lady, the Vice President, members of Congress, and other U.S. and world leaders. 

His biographies, children’s books, and works of popular apologetics have been translated into more than 20 languages. He was born in New York City in 1963, grew up in Danbury, Connecticut, attending the public schools there, and graduated from Yale University.

Faculty resources

Faculty are encouraged to use ideas and thoughts from the book in the classroom. Brackett Library has provided a resource page for more information and tools for classroom use. View the resources here.


June 9 and July 13 | Summer Stampede welcome sessions
President Bruce McLarty will speak to new students in the opening sessions of Summer Stampede I and II and introduce the Harding Read program and book for the school year. The sessions will happen in Benson Auditorium from 2-3 p.m.

June 9 and July 13 | Book distribution
Copies of Amazing Grace will be available for free to all new students. Books can be picked up in Brackett Library after 3 p.m. on June 9 and July 13.

Jan. 12, 2017 | ASI Distinguished Lecture Series
Eric Metaxas will make a presentation as a part of the American Studies Institute Distinguished Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m. in Benson Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.