Published in 1851, Harriet Beecher-Stowe's novel rapidly became world-famous and remained so. A didactic and sentimental drama set among the slaves of the American South, Uncle Tom's Cabin is nevertheless a lively and forceful story. It made a major contribution to the Emancipationist cause and probably helped to sway the outcome of the Civil War. Given the history of race relations in our time it remains relevant even today.
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(211mm x 31mm x 132mm)
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US Kirkus Review »
Librarians will dispute Miss White's contention that "boys and girls no longer read Uncle Tom's Cabin;" what cannot be disputed is the dismay with which they regard it, the difficulty they have in understanding it. To overcome the difficulties and "to heighten the effect," she has cut references to terms "outside a young reader's knowledge and understanding" which she interprets to mean "vocabulary beyond the ten-to-fourteen level;" she has substituted indirect for direct discourse in some instances to achieve "a change of pace;" she has removed "old fashioned punctuation" ("they don't understand the semicolon at all"); she has eliminated some explanation of characters and description of surroundings, and "unessential religious commentary and interpolation;" she has simplified the opening of the story "with the object of capturing the reader from the start." All this results in a version which is twenty percent shorter than the original and which is unquestionably easier to read. It is still the story of Uncle Tom (and Eliza and Topsy,) and it still is a moving document, but it is not Mrs. Stowe's book. Hopefully, librarians will have both on their shelves and offer readers an informed choice between the two. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in 1811, one of ten children of famous minister Lyman Beecher. She moved to Ohio in 1832 and was introduced to the slavery debates, marrying the professor and staunch abolitionist Calvin Stowe with whom she had seven children. In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, punishing anyone who offered runaway slaves food or shelter - she drew on her anger from this to write UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, which first appeared in an abolitionist newspaper and was then published in book form. It was an immediate bestseller, selling ten thousand copies in its first week of publication and going on to become the second biggest bestseller of the nineteenth century after the Bible. It was hugely influential in the abolition debate, and catapulted Stowe into the spotlight. When President Abraham Lincolm met her he is reported to have described her as 'the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War'. Over the course of her long career she wrote over thirty books and essays, poems and articles. She died in 1896.