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Uncle Tom's Cabin Paperback – Aug 1 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (Aug. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486440281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486440286
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Uncle Tom's Cabin is the most powerful and enduring work of art ever written about American slavery."
—Alfred Kazin


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone
over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P—, in Kentucky.
There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely
approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.

For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two gentlemen. One of the parties,
however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under
the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and
that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his
way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed, in a gaudy vest of many
colors, a blue neckerchief, bedropped gayly with yellow spots, and arranged with a
flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and
coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold
watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors,
attached to it,—which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of
flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and
easy defiance of Murray's Grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with
various profane expressions, which not even the desire to be graphic in our account
shall induce us to transcribe.

His companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentleman; and the
arrangements of the house, and the general air of the housekeeping, indicated easy,
and even opulent circumstances. As we before stated, the two were in the midst of
an earnest conversation.

'That is the way I should arrange the matter,' said Mr. Shelby.

'I can't make trade that way—I positively can't, Mr. Shelby,' said the other, holding
up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.

'Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is certainly worth that sum
anywhere—steady, honest, capable, manages my whole farm like a clock.'

'You mean honest, as niggers go,' said Haley, helping himself to a glass of brandy.

'No; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible, pious fellow. He got religion at
a camp-meeting, four years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted him,
since then, with everything I have,—money, house, horses,—and let him come and
go round the country; and I always found him true and square in everything.'

'Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers, Shelby,' said Haley, with a candid
flourish of his hand, 'but I do. I had a fellow, now, in this yer last lot I took to
Orleans—'twas as good as a meetin', now, really, to hear that critter pray; and he was
quite gentle and quiet like. He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap
of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. Yes, I consider
religion a valeyable thing in a nigger, when it's the genuine article, and no mistake.'

'Well, Tom's got the real article, if ever a fellow had,' rejoined the other. 'Why, last
fall, I let him go to Cincinnati alone, to do business for me, and bring home five
hundred dollars. 'Tom,' says I to him, 'I trust you, because I think you're a
Christian—'I know you wouldn't cheat.' Tom comes back, sure enough; I knew he
would. Some low fellows, they say, said to him—'Tom, why don't you make tracks
for Canada?' 'Ah, master trusted me, and I couldn't'—they told me about it. I am sorry
to part with Tom, I must say. You ought to let him cover the whole balance of the
debt; and you would, Haley, if you had any conscience.'

'Well, I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to
keep,—just a little, you know, to swear by, as 'twere,' said the trader, jocularly; 'and
then, I'm ready to do anything in reason to 'blige friends; but this yer, you see, is a
leetle too hard on a fellow—a leetle too hard.' The trader sighed contemplatively, and
poured out some more brandy.

'Well, then, Haley, how will you trade?' said Mr. Shelby, after an uneasy interval of
silence.

'Well, haven't you a boy or gal that you could throw in with Tom?'

'Hum!—none that I could well spare; to tell the truth, it's only hard necessity makes
me willing to sell at all. I don't like parting with any of my hands, that's a fact.'

Here the door opened, and a small quadroon boy, between four and five years of
age, entered the room. There was something in his appearance remarkably beautiful
and engaging. His black hair, fine as floss silk, hung in glossy curls about his
round, dimpled face, while a pair of large dark eyes, full of fire and softness, looked
out from beneath the rich, long lashes, as he peered curiously into the apartment. A
gay robe of scarlet and yellow plaid, carefully made and neatly fitted, set off to
advantage the dark and rich style of his beauty; and a certain comic air of
assurance, blended with bashfulness, showed that he had been not unused to
being petted and noticed by his master.


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 26 1999
Format: Hardcover
Harry Shelby, a young mulatto slave boy, dances for a slave boy and his master, and the trader is laughing with glee. He decides he could fetch a good price for this boy. Eliza, Harry's mother; and George, his proud father; feel forced into action, fleeing from kind masters to Canada. Meanwhile, Uncle Tom, as everyone calls the pious old slave, is sold into the terrible hands of Simon of Legree. Tom is unfased, however, because if he dies he will be with Jesus, his Saviour. This book is for people who like historical fiction with an adventourous twist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bart Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 13 2011
Format: Paperback
I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Uncle Tom's Cabin. I've read the history books. I know it first appeared as a serial story in an abolitionist magazine in 1851. I know it appeared as a novel in 1852. I know it is credited by many with having pushed the nation into the Civil War. I know that it is the best selling American Novel of the 19th century. I know it is the 2nd best selling book in America in the 19th century, second only to the Bible. I know it is recognized as one of the most influential works of literature in America and set the stage for many political works that followed for quite some time. I know many of its images and terms have since served to themselves become stereotypes over the years seen very differently today, than they were in the days before and even shortly following the Civil War.

So, when I saw that the novel was available on the Kindle as a free download, I wasn't sure I needed to read it. But I went ahead and I'm glad I did.

There's always a temptation in reviewing a book critically, that the more popular a book is, the more tempting it is to adopt an elitist attitude that serves to further, not the value of the book, but rather the size of the ego of the reviewer. I was tempted while reading this to adopt some of this attitude.

The book plays out as a Victorian morality play and it sermonizes in true Puritan and Calvinist form to seek to bring shame on both the North and the South for their direct and indirect support of the institution of slavery in America. Many of the characters are, from the perspective of a 21st century reader, contrived representations which seem very unrealistic and are designed to tug at the emotions of the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
As a classic, Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" deserves its status as a powerful indictment against the history of black slavery in America. With courage and insight unprecedented in her time, Stowe uses moving family tales of a number of black and white families to pillory the violence and hatred to which blacks were subjected prior to the American Civil War and thrills the reader with convincing philosophical debates that reveal the astonishing hypocrisy and weak-willed rationalizations that the white population used to justify their actions.

But, as a novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is unsatisfying, overly long and poorly edited. Stowe's insistence on writing her dialogue in a faux black English dialect is unconvincing at best and is actually often irritating and distracting as it becomes more and more difficult to decipher what her characters are actually trying to say.

Her insistence on preaching and using Christian church teachings and the bible as the primary basis for criticizing prejudice, racism and slavery frankly grated my sensibilities. There is plenty enough wrong with slavery and its history in America from a purely humanist point of view without resorting to what would be categorized as "bible thumping" today. (That said, I will admit that it may have been an appropriate approach to convince what she saw as her potential audience at the time).

The white characters she uses to support and convey her message of understanding, compassion and her political agenda of abolition are so sugary sweet as to be positively cloying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 27 2012
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be intriguing if, for no other reason, than it is one of the most frequently used reference books of this era but, on the other hand, one of the books that remain the most highly unread. Yes, Miss Stowe did portray the inhumane cruelty of the early 1800s and, yes, she provided a quality storyline to bring these concepts to life. But, that being said, I strongly feel that her depiction of the slave holders tilted to both polar extremes. One the humanistic side she showed two sets of slave owners who, for the most part, treated their charges as nearly being part of the `family'. In some instances the attention and care that they received even outstripped family members. This, I am sure, is the manner in which the author would have treated slaves if, indeed, they were in her charge. On the other extreme Miss Stowe depicts Simon Legree as the incarnate projection of pure evil. A cotton farmer, who by all accounts is monetarily quite successful, treating his slaves as a few steps below that of mere disposable waste. If such were the case, Mr. Legree would be forced to take most (if not all) of his profits and use them for the continual repurchase of replacement slaves for the ones he presently is mistreating. For they will soon be dead either through his own direct hand or by his continual abuse. Yes, I understand that the author did have a statement to make that literally screamed against the recent passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. She, likewise, felt it her mission to embolden the Northern States to take action against the dehumanizing actions of the Southern plantation owners. By using these extremes and ignoring the norm, her mission was successful. Reality, on the other hand, was slightly different.Read more ›
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