4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
I read a lot of books and very few of them are ones that I will NEVER forget. Uncle Tom's Cabin is among the few that will be with me for a lifetime. This book is of course about slavery - the evil of it and the necessity of freeing slaves but there is so much more to it. It is also a social commentary. It is a story about hope. 'Uncle Tom' is perhaps the most incredible...
Published on Sept. 28 2005 by Victoria
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin is written through the eyes of a religious
fanatic abolitionist whose father is a minister and president of
a college of theology where her husband is a professor. Ms. Stowe tries to tell about slavery in the South from tails she has heard. The book was written nine years before the War Between the States and sold 300,000 copies the first year...
Published on March 28 2002 by Bill Looney
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!,
I read a lot of books and very few of them are ones that I will NEVER forget. Uncle Tom's Cabin is among the few that will be with me for a lifetime. This book is of course about slavery - the evil of it and the necessity of freeing slaves but there is so much more to it. It is also a social commentary. It is a story about hope. 'Uncle Tom' is perhaps the most incredible hero I have ever read about. He is a character of such simple Christian faith that he has encouraged my own walk with Christ. If you are searching for a book that will make you smile at the warmth of the human soul and cry over the evil of people this is the book to read. You will never forget Uncle Tom's Cabin and it very well may change how you live your life. Books that can do that are precious, grab a hold of it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding story,
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a very melodramatic book. I have read it several times over the past twenty years and must say that it has something new for every decade or even for every generation. When considered for our time, Uncle Tom's stands out as a classic prose that hits directly at those turbulent times before the Civil War, and reflects issues of war and principles today. Harriet Beecher Stowe had a great cause to write about and wrote a work that still is as relevant today as it was during his time.
The author's masterful story summarizes the conflicting attitudes of a nation on the brink of civil war. Melodramatic though it is, it was written in the style of the times and for a situation that required it. This is a highly recommended book.
Also recommended: DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, WAR AND PEACE, THE USURPER AND OTHERS
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check,
It will be found shocking to many African Americans (and educational for many Caucasians) to discover that Uncle Tom was the HERO of this classic novel, and not a "weakling" by any stretch of the imagination. "Uncle Tom", or its shorter form "Tom", has become a slanderous term within the African American community and implies a weak and Caucasian-controlled person, when in actuality Uncle Tom was a powerfully moral man who was willing to die for his convictions rather than succumb to the will of his worst oppressors. In fact, this book was credited by Abraham Lincoln himself as the catalyst that won his election on the abolition of slavery platform, and the resulting Civil War that followed. "Uncle Tom" became a negative slander one hundred years later only after Malcolm-X and the Black Muslims used it to slander Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who exemplified similar characteristics of strength and courage--from a similarly peaceful perspective--in his approach to the Civil Rights issue. As with the fictitious character Tom, Dr. King also died for his convictions without raising a hand against his oppressors. I highly recommend this book to people of all colors and races because of the lessons of self-sacrifice and courage it contains. Caucasian readers will hopefully learn of the pain and suffering of the slaves and gain a deeper compassion for its lingering legacy today. However, I especially recommend Uncle Tom's Cabin to African Americans, for contained in its pages are stories of love, compassion and courage--by both black & white--that will offset the painful legacy of that period caused by the suffering of so many. May the ignorance of the "Uncle Tom" slander be eradicated from their minds as they read of the courage of this fictitious character--who reminded others of Dr. King himself--and the other characters whose struggles and triumphs are contained in its pages also. I also recommend the books: No Apology Necessary, by Earl Carter, Let's Get to Know Each Other, by Tony Evans, and my own book, which is-- White Man in a Black Man's World (tm), by Richard Vermillion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amen! This should be required reading....,
This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Hardcover)
Being a suburban, male, upper-middle class WASP, educated in Kansas City's public school system I had never completely understood the conditions that surrounded legalized slavery in the middle 1800's. I had watched Gone with the Wind as a kid and that was my image of plantation life and slavery. Uncle Tom's Cabin gives the reader the whole story and Stowe does an excellent job of presenting arguments from all sides of the issue (brutal slave drivers, gentleman farmers, abolitionists, slaves accepting their lot in life, slaves longing to be free). I was so moved. Only Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird have had that same impact on me in the past. I would give this book 6 stars if that were an option. The U.S. History books always made reference to Uncle Tom's Cabin for its historical importance. It did open the eyes of so many who didn't realize what was happening in their country. Public education should go further though by making this required reading. It is so much more than a mere footnote. It is a slow-starter, it took me about 10 days to get through the first 100 pages adjusting to Stowe's mastery with dialects, but the last 350 pages moved 3 times as fast. Wow! The power of reading. It's amazing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew all about this book ... until I read it,
This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (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.
However, the measure of a book is not how it is read by those removed from its time, but rather those of its time. In spite of myself, as I progressed through the book, I found myself grudgingly in places, entering into the story and spirit of the book. In some ways, the effectiveness of the book, even with the elements mentioned comes from Stowe not painting things as negatively as might have been her temptation. With the notable exception of Simon Legree the main characters of the book, in the South of the slaveholder class, are presented in a somewhat sympathetic light. "Good" masters are shown for their benevolence and care for their slaves and in come cases it could be argued that these servants are better off than they might otherwise have been as free. But this works its way clearly to the conclusion that even with good masters the system itself is evil and there is no guarantee that benevolent circumstances will continue. Good masters can fall on hard times and be pressed to sell their property.
I found myself, despite resisting and recognizing the in places heavy handed methods used in the book to appeal to emotions, entering often into and sensing the humanity and emotions of the characters. There is in places almost a Dickensian appeal to social justice that works quite well and makes it evident why the book had the impact that it did.
In short, I enjoyed the book and feel now that I know, not only about the book but have entered into the book and seen America as it was before the Civil War. The final afterword of the author that appeals for action of all Christians (the primary target of the book) is quite effective and the arguments presented against some of the common defenses of slavery of that age are laid out and shown for the rationalizations they were.
5 stars. It not only shows history, it is history.
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the term "classic",
This book is beyond the term "classic." I tend to think of classic books as those you're made to read in school. We didn't have to read this one--I came upon it by myself. The book is a tale of adversity in the struggle for freedom, a look into human cruelty as well as human compassion, and one man's loyalty to those he is indentured to. The novel is set in a period just before the Civil War; during the time when the black people of America were not citizens, and had no rights. In the south during this time, the blacks were forced to work hard labor on plantations and were required to live in small dorms outside of their owner's homes. However, the novel is more than just a narrative of slaves, but of human emotion rising up in the face of adversity. It is a story of the fight for freedom, and an account of the history of America. The author brings out the humanity in the slaves, and describes the great injustices that took place during the time. The characters of this book are strong, resourceful, and respectable. If you're interested in race and racial relations also try "Raising Fences" and "The Bark of the Dogwood."
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but way ahead of its time!,
I usually don't expect 150-year-old novels of ideas (and this is the quintessential novel of ideas) to be page turners, but Stowe is to be commended for writing what is first of all a great story. Never mind all the political sermonizing she does here -- and there's plenty of it -- this is above all a gripping story. Every time I expected a chapter to head into tedious territory, I was pleasantly surprised. Even though everyone knows what will happen to Uncle Tom -- this being a slave narrative written before the Civil War, after all, -- I couldn't help but continue wanting to read on. This was the second best selling book of the 19th century not only because it was highly controversial, but also because it's a well-told story, and I say "told" because Stowe herself often claimed that God dictated it to her. And it seems to be more spoken than written, especially with her frequent direct addresses to the reader.
While there may be something to Stowe's claim of divine inspiration given its impact, the book is certainly not without its faults. The character of Eva, for instance, is unlike that of any normal living child. She's a saintly caricature. And her neverending conclusion drips with maudlin sentiment exaggerated to Biblical proportions. Similarly, Uncle Tom doesn't bear resemblance to anyone I've ever met. But most troublesome is Stowe's romanticism of the black characters. She lumps them together and stereotypes them in one way or another. Clearly she means no harm; just the opposite is her desired effect. But it sometimes comes at the price of preachy condescension. They may be positive sterotypes, but they are stereotypes nonetheless, and they weaken her case against slavery.
Having read and enjoyed the highly-acclaimed and abundantly-awarded "The Known World" by Edward P. Jones, it dawned on me that Stowe really had a more thorough understanding of even the most subtle effects that the institution of slavery had on blacks and whites both northern and southern alike even with ideal slave masters. She even appears to foresee the differences of opinion that would later crystallize in Martin Luther King's brand of civil disobediance and the more militant versions advocated by the Nation of Islam and Black Panthers, juxtaposed in the diverging paths of the quiet, pious and tolerant Tom with that of the more directly oppositional George. She criticizes neither, though she seems to favor Tom's path, knowing full well that Uncle Tom is unique, and his abundance of Christian tolerance isn't likely to be found in the general population -- nor is it a path she desires for most slaves. She would rather that slaves simply escaped. She also seems to advocate their creation of a country of their own, taking Liberia as a model.
Still, further, Stowe is an early feminist, and as a result, the characters that are most interesting here are the women. Ophelia comes nearest of all the characters in the book to walking off the page. And Cassie, a finely complex creation, though introduced only in the last 120 pages or so, nearly steals the climax.
And what of the villains? They, too, are caricatures to be sure. To me at least, Simon Legree left something to be desired. He occasionally comes off as more of a buffoon rather than the Satan you know him to be deep down. But Marie St. Claire -- again, the woman -- is as clear a picture of selfcenteredness as Scrooge is of miserliness.
Hemingway said that all modern American literature dates back to Huckleberry Finn, but I think he needed to look about 30 years earlier than Twain to Stowe. Uncle Tom's Cabin is a masterpiece of American fiction; if it is not the Great American Novel, it is, at least in terms of sales, impact and literary merit, the Great American Novel of Ideas.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read...,
This is definitely a book worth reading. I have refrained from reading it previously for no real reasons, but when it was on sale at the bookstore, I decided that it was time to read it.
The story is amazing. When I first heard of the book in history class, I thought that it would be a book about harsh slave masters, and how they are unfeeling and torture all their slaves. However, Stowe was able to use her book's length to her benefit.
Even though during the time of it's publication, most Southerners were angry that the book misrepresented them, I feel that the book used a great amount of time showing that not all slave masters were hard drivers. It wasn't until the very end when the readers met with the harsh slave driver. The previous slave owners we'd met would have been considered the lesser of the evils.
The book is a great read, sad, tragic, and feeling, while given in a very different way than I've ever read (the author will disrupt the narrative, and plead to the readers to understand the agony, then resume with the narration).
All in all, I was quite please, and very moved.
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncle Tom's Cabin,
By A Customer
Often credited to helping start the American Civil War, Stowe's novel became influential for all Americans, whether willingly or not. She may not have wanted absolute war, but she made it clear that "The object of these sketches is to awaken sympathy and feeling for the African race..." (Stowe xviii). She made a brilliant attempt to fulfill this goal and the result was a novel that changed the course of history.
The actual story is just one way that Stowe created compassion in her audience. The story starts with a gracious slave-owner, Shelby, and how debts have forced this kindhearted man to separate two families, one of them mother and child. The mother, Eliza, and child, Harry, flee to the north were abolitionists help them make their way to Canada and reunite with the husband and father. The escape is dramatic and moving and the people that help the family along the way are appropriately labeled as righteous humans. In contras, Loker, the slave hunter that hindered them, is deemed unethical. The conversion of Loker is a turning point for that part of the story and he is altered into a character favorable to the reader.
As for Tom, he is sent to the St. Clare family where the master is moral man and he has a religious and flawless daughter, Eva. Because of her perfection, Eva cannot see the difference between blacks and whites. Soon afterwards, Tom is sold to a malicious slave owner, Legree. Tom helps two fellow slaves escape but is therefore severely beaten and then dies. In his memory, Shelby's son frees all of his slaves and Tom becomes a martyr. The seemingly real lives of Stowe's characters raise emotions and sway the reader to be sympathetic towards blacks.
An important person who was the prime example to support Stowe's thesis was St. Clare's cousin Ophelia. She is a northerner who hates blacks but is opposed to slavery. She represents the intended audience that Stowe was writing for. What Stowe wants for the North is what happens to Ophelia: through contact with a suffering slave, she overcomes her racism. Ophelia insists that St. Clare legally give her the slave that she grew fond of and states that "'Nobody but God has a right to give her to me; but I can protect her now'" (308).
Uncle Tom's Cabin also happens to be incredibly biased. From cover to cover, there are narrations with reasons and opinions that Stowe created to draw the reader to a certain belief. One speaks of how the pleasant and caring masters in Kentucky were the best a slave could get but even there they were still sold, worked hard, and separated from family. Others told of why the immoral masters were so atrocious. The author described the characters with different types of attitudes based on how she wanted the reader to feel about them. For example, a Quaker named Ruth "...was decidedly a wholesome, wholehearted, chirruping little woman..." and therefore the first impression of this woman was positive (133). This worked for Stowe because the Quakers were placed into an optimistic atmosphere. On the other hand, the people that were created to be the "enemy" were portrayed as abhorrent creatures who weren't truly gentlemen. For instance, Tom's master Legree was said to be "...like some ferocious beast, that plays with its victim before he devours it, he kept back his strong impulse to proceed to immediate violence..." (355).
Religion played an enormous part in story as well. The characters that the reader would grow fond of were tremendously religious. For example, Tom "...would climb to a nook... and busy himself in studying over his Bible..." (141). In addition, Eva is perfect and extremely pious. The devout characters are also the ones opposed to slavery. The more religious a person grows, the more moral they become. For example, Loker is healed by Quakers and consequently found religion with them. Through this he is transformed into a man who is completely concerned with the well-being of blacks. In opposition, Legree was the true evil of the story and he is also the opposite of any religious person, especially Tom and Eva. At one point, Tom hears a voice that seems to come from the religious scroll that tells him not to be afraid. On the other hand, "...Simon Legree heard no voice. That voice is one he never shall hear" (336). The significance behind her strong use of religion is that Stowe was trying to create a hidden message in the story: that no genuine Christian would support slavery.
Through the above types of communicating her argument, Stowe was tremendously successful in convincing any reader of the evils of slavery. The readers will most likely feel moved, emotional, and supportive toward any slave, which was the author's objective.
The actual sources and research that Stowe used are unclear. From some research of my own I learned that much of her information came from her servants who were former slaves. While she never actually visited a "deep-south" plantation such as Legree's, she did experience some mild slavery around her. The last chapter of her book is basically her defense for her research. Unable to get an actual comparison between her version and others, it is hard to determine the accuracy. I believe that her research was very good for what was available at the time and generally accurate. There may have been some stretches from the truth, but she was overall fairly factual.
On the whole, the novel was virtuous. As a piece of fictional literature, it is excellent and it is difficult to find a better story. As a historical book, it could be improved, especially in accuracy, but of course the historian reader has to keep in mind that that was not her intention. She set out to make an emotional story to convert people in the North to be compassionate and that was accomplished.
I would highly recommend this book to anybody old enough to comprehend the meaning behind it. For AP students, the book can help them to understand the social situations before the Civil War. At the same time, it is not the best for a historical book review of this sort because it argues for something irrelevant today and does not look upon the topic from a historical point of view.
5.0 out of 5 stars As a history major...,
This book was incredible. Yes it can be racist, and extremist at times, but at it's core you're reading a piece of history. For a book to sell 300,000 copies during it's original publication in the mid 19th century is astounding. You're reading a book that had a part in the Civil War, the bloodiest war of our history. I did find while reading it that many parallels can be made between this book and "Black Beauty". Coincidence? Perhaps, but worth looking at in a review, or report. To read this and think that America permitted this slavery to go on for years, would be enough to disgust anyone. America's history is a bloody one, one that we need to remember, and reading this book will make you appriciate your freedom now, as an American. Please do keep in mind however, the slave trade is still going not to America, but places in Europe and Asia, even with the U.N outlawing it in 1953. I just cannot say how much this book made me think about the world past and present. Most highly recommended.
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Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Paperback - Aug. 1 2005)
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