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Uncle Tom's Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  196,150 ratings  ·  7,726 reviews
The novel that changed the course of American history

Published in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel was a powerful indictment of slavery in America. Describing the many trials and eventual escape to freedom of the long-suffering, good-hearted slave Uncle Tom, it aimed to show how Christian love can overcome any human cruelty. Uncle Tom’s Cabin has remained controversial
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Paperback, 640 pages
Published September 17th 1981 by Penguin Classics (first published 1851)
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Shelly I 'read' it as an audio book and the narrator did a terrific job with the voices--helped with the dialect that can bog it down in places.
Ashley I read this book in about a week, and I thought it was compelling not just as an education of the slavery era, but because of the characters, includin…moreI read this book in about a week, and I thought it was compelling not just as an education of the slavery era, but because of the characters, including their motivations and the mental traps that allowed slavery to exist. The character's stories and relationships were also a very good reason to read the book, with each plight saying something about the times and the immorality that existed back then. I don't think it was a racist book at all -- in fact the author was clearly arguing against slavery -- but rather set in a very racist time. But the whole thing is very enlightening and worth the read.(less)

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Stephen
ONE READER'S CONFUSION ABOUT WHY "UNCLE TOM" MEANS ANYTHING BUT HERO

3.0 stars. First, I am glad I have finally read this book given its historical significance and the very positive impact that it had on American history. That said, from a literary perspective, I didn't find this book to be particularly well written and am doubtful of whether it would be much remembered or considered a "classic" but for the aforementioned historical significance and the creation of the character of Uncle Tom (mo
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Laura
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I wish this was still required reading in schools. Can you imagine: a book that was credited by President Lincoln with bringing about the Civil War, and is known to have so affected the hearts of readers that it changed their opinions of slavery is hardly read in the country whose face it changed?
Tammy King Carlton
This book is one of the most moving, provocative pieces of literature I've ever read, and it's the first time that I can recall being moved to tears from a book. As long as I live, I will never be able to remove from my mind the vision of Eliza, panicked and frenzied, in the dead of the night with her baby boy in her arms, leaping across the frozen ice of the Ohio river to escape the trader her baby had been sold to. And if anyone wants to read a profound and well written narrative for the view ...more
Mischenko
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uncle Tom’s Cabin highlights the disgusting, evil, and immoral times of slavery in American history. This sentimental novel is fictional, but shares truth in what life was like for slaves and how they were treated during these dark times. It’s been said that this book helped lay the groundwork for the American Civil War.

This was a recommended read for my daughter’s American History curriculum but not a required one. I’ve always wanted to read it, and now I can say it’s one of the most difficult
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Ahmad Sharabiani
893. Uncle Tom’s cabin; or, life among the lowly, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman. Stowe, a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Seminary and an active abolitionist, featured the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave around whom the stories of other characters revolve. T
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Lisa
"Talk of the abuses of slavery! Humbug! The thing itself is the essence of all abuse!"

I remembered this quote from Uncle Tom's Cabin all of a sudden when I accidentally paraphrased it in a discussion on gun control at school. Some issues can't be solved by half-measures. They have to be abolished.

There are books that shape who you are. I remember when I first read Uncle Tom's Cabin as a young girl. Before that, I had only a vague idea of slavery in America as a historical phase, something I ima
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Alex
It's not really this book's fault that it sucks. Harriet Beecher Stowe's heart was in the right place: she aimed to expose the evils of slavery. Abraham Lincoln is said to have called her the “little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” That's patronizing and it didn't, but it didn't hurt either.

But it hasn't aged well. According to this book, here's

What Black People Are Like
- "The African, naturally patient, timid and unenterprising"
- "The negro is naturally more impressible to r
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J Cravens
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who cares about social justice or USA history
Shelves: fiction
The main character of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and at least one of the minor characters, are frequently mocked by modern black activists, rappers and comedians. Therefore, when I began reading this novel, originally published in 1852, I was expecting a woefully-outdated story with painful, outrageous stereotypes and archaic language, and had prepared myself for a real struggle to navigate through it in order to see how this book mobilized people in the USA against slavery.

The story, its delivery and i
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James
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Uncle Tom's Cabin, written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe. For some reason, we didn't read this book in high school; possibly an excerpt or two was thrown in front of us, but I honestly don't really remember reading it until freshman year of college. Prior to reading it, the silly and uneducated man I was thought Ms. Stowe was an African-American telling the story about slavery in America, not all that different from The Underground Railroad stories.
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Sean Barrs
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-reads
I’m going to keep this one very short and relatively sweet.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a wonderfully forward-thinking book full of optimism, hope and one that captures the simple and honest nature that comes with a genuine hero who is faced with tyranny. It’s a monumentally important book, historically speaking this is one of the most influential pieces of literature ever written. It worked towards humbling a racist white culture and helped bring an end to slavery in America, and it comes with a compe
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Beverly
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertainment Weekly has an interview they do in which they ask famous authors, in this case Ursula K. le Guin, several questions in a one page format about who their favorite writers are, etc. In this article, le Guin said that she liked to reread Uncle Tom's Cabin. She said many are astonished at this preference and act as if she was extolling a racist screed. Having never read it and liking Ursula K. le Guin, I decided to try it. A polemic on the heinous, Uncle Tom's Cabinet is written in suc ...more
Corinne
For me, the story is a sharp contrast between freedom obtained by George, Eliza, and their children in Canada versus what happens to Uncle Tom in bondage, i.e, his painful death, but in dignity. The two parallel stories increase the beauties of each other, enhanced further by Aunt Chloe's desperate efforts to save Tom till the end, and by the poetic justice delivered to the brutal slave owner at the end.

Add to that Stowe's understanding the heart of a mother: the more defective the child is, th
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K.D. Absolutely
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
I decided to pick this 1852 book up because this was said to be the inspiration of our national hero, José Rizal (1861-1896) for writing his masterpiece novel, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) (published in 1887). I thought I would like to compare this with Noli to see how original or unoriginal Rizal was.

My verdict: Noli and Uncle Tom's Cabin are totally different from each other except for one thing and that is the lowly's fight for freedom from slavery. Lowly in Noli are the indios or native Fi
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Apatt
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I jist done readin thar book, why, Mas’r, it don’t make no sense to me. Why a man get treated like a dog by another man and the law is all right with that? I knoe it dont mean nuthin now we is all civilased with iPads and lor knows what, but whar was it ever OK?

Slave narratives are morbidly fascinating to me, it amazes me that slavery was ever “a thing” in civilized countries.

Uncle Tom's Cabin tells the story of a faithful, kind and extremely pious “Uncle Tom” and several characters associated
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Amanda
Jun 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap
Important? Yes. Good? No.
Arianne Thompson
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I think the saddest thing about this book is that everybody remembers Uncle Tom, even if only as a particularly ugly byword, but nobody remembers George Harris.

"I am George Harris. A Mr. Harris, of Kentucky, did call me his property. But now I'm a free man, standing on God's free soil; and my wife and my child I claim as mine... You can come up, if you like, but the first one of you that comes within the range of our bullets is a dead man."

He is a hell of a character, and one of the few here th
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Jessica Reese
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history classes, Beloved fanatics
Shelves: literature
O.k. so I was supposed to read this in my high school a.p. class. I think my friend and I may even have taken turns reading parts of it, but it never really happened. But, this last semester I actually read it twice, because that's what my Amer. Romanticism professor suggested we do, and, to be honest I was kind of scared of him for a while...

But, here's the deal. It really isn't a great book. It started out as bed time tales for her kids, progressed to installments in a magazine, and then event
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Marie
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow. An important book, surely, historically, and I found the forward more interesting than most as it argued about the book's place in American Literature. (Though, sadly, like most academic forwards, rife with spoilers. Lady! I'm reading this for the first time, don't tell me who dies and who gets married and who goes to Africa!)

Stowe's strength is in her more merry passages, particularly when she can put her bible down for five seconds and turn a wry, Twain-like eye on popular culture. Sadly,
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Ann Marie
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life-changing book. This was a great read-aloud with my kids. We finished it on Easter Sunday - very appropriate.
Lydia Presley
There have been so many reviews done about the book it seems a bit ridiculous for me to come so late to the game and offer my own insightful and poignant thoughts (I don't think that much of myself, really!). So instead, I thought I'd write about about my decision to read this book, why it took me so long, and how it affected me personally.

I'd first heard of Uncle Tom's Cabin in college. Being home-schooled in the 80's/early 90's there really wasn't any sort of required reading, and I was consta
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Angela
Um. So. I don't even really know where to start with this book. tl;dr - Should absolutely, positively be required reading for anyone who calls themselves an American. Don't be intimidated by it because it's old; it's easy to read and follow linguistically, and the story itself is riveting.

I think I first learned about this book in AP US History in 11th grade & the blurb in our textbook was basically like, "This woman wrote this book depicting the realities of slavery & it kind of went viral & st
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Antoinette
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly a timely book that looks back on slavery in the 1850’s.
This is the kind of book that makes me shake my head at humanity. The way “Negroes” are thought of and treated is repulsive. So often I was brought to either tears or anger as I read.
Yes, for sure, the author depicts the good”white” people as well as the bad. That again seems to be our society today.
Why they were thought of as less than human, I will never understand. Even the kindly Mrs. Shelby says of them...”to do my dut
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Jason Pettus
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #39: Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The story in a nutshell:
First written serially over the course of 1850 and '51, Harriet Beecher Stowe's
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Thomas
This book launched the Civil War, and at what cost? In her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe writes about the plight of enslaved individuals, and she relies on religion to advance her argument that slavery should not exist. The characters often appear as nothing more than archetypes. Stowe's writing comes across as propaganda more times than not. And yet the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin itself possesses an undeniable power, a strength fueled by outright sentimentalism and moralist rhe ...more
May 舞
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Quite a powerful book that must have been revolutionary for its time because we all know how utterly insane it is to entertain the notion that black people have, um, feelings; that they grieve at being torn away from their families and feel the humiliation of being whipped and kicked and insulted, day in and day out.

There were too many heartbreaking stories -which probably reflect only a tiny fraction of the injustice and cruelty done to slaves all over America in the past few centuries. Yet th
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Karen
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 ser ...more
Aishu Rehman
Uncle Tom’s Cabin tells the story of Uncle Tom, depicted as a saintly, dignified slave. While being transported by boat to auction in New Orleans, Tom saves the life of Little Eva, whose grateful father then purchases Tom. Eva and Tom soon become great friends. Always frail, Eva’s health begins to decline rapidly, and on her deathbed she asks her father to free all his slaves. He makes plans to do so but is then killed, and the brutal Simon Legree, Tom’s new owner, has Tom whipped to death after ...more
Timothy Urges
In the midst of life we are in death.

I know this is a seminal work, but oh lord I was bored.
Ahmed Taha
The story of House Negros as Malcolm X described them.
K.
Trigger warnings: slavery, racism, violence, suicide, death of a child, beatings/whippings.

3.5 stars.

I.......have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's basically the first book that actually portrayed enslaved people as, like, PEOPLE and not stereotypes. They're fully fleshed out characters who love and hate and cry and mourn and have dreams for the future and for their families. They want education and to have their own businesses and to see their children grow up free.

HOWEVE
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Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe was an American author and abolitionist, whose novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) attacked the cruelty of slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential, even in Britain. It made the political issues of the 1850s regarding slavery tangible to millions, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North. It angered and embittered the South. Th ...more

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