Karen's Reviews > Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
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's review
Feb 26, 09

bookshelves: historical-fiction, western-canon
Read in February, 2009

Having had an abiding interest in studying the Civil War, I have been surprised at myself that I have not previously read Uncle Tom's Cabin. I have now remedied that failure. I found the book riveting in parts. Harriett Beecher Stowe is a better writer than I expected. Her powerful character development makes the book all the more heartwrenching. I loved Uncle Tom's Christ-like character. I also loved the religious allusions and overtones in the book. In 1852, when the book was published, it served as a much-needed grand national chastisement over the practice of slavery. She used the story to teach basic compassion for the slaves. It is shocking to a modern reader that teaching such basic compassion was ever necessary. Mrs. Stowe gave no leniency to northerners in her chastisement ("We [southerners:] are the obvious oppressors of the negro; but the unchristian prejudice of the north is an oppressor almost equally severe."). I was disappointed that she ended the book by sending so many of her main characters back to Africa. It was an unfortunate cop out. Because of her effective depiction of slavery and all of its ugliness, I readily believe that President Lincoln said, upon meeting Mrs. Stowe, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!"

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02/21/2009 page 226
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