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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A historical fiction book on slavery in America.
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...
Published on Oct. 26 1999

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3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, important message in a weak novel!
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...
Published on Oct. 24 2009 by Paul Weiss


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A historical fiction book on slavery in America., Oct. 26 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (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
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew all about this book ... until I read it, June 13 2011
By 
Bart Breen "Bart Breen" (Sterling, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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.

bart breen
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3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, important message in a weak novel!, Oct. 24 2009
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (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. A scene in which her primary white character, Evangeline St Clare, gathers her family and her family's slaves around her death bed in order to distribute locks of her hair to one and all was so melodramatic and pointless as to approach the level of bizarre.

I would never say to any potential future reader that I enjoyed "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I didn't! In fact, at times, it was even a struggle to finish it. But the message, the history, the overwhelming importance and the power of the arguments conveyed by the story are more than enough reason to read it anyway. If enough people take the message to heart then perhaps the world has a possibility of avoiding repetition of events like the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the rape of Nanking or the slaughter of the Muslims in Bosnia by the Serbs.

Paul Weiss
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An abolishionist's plea to the Northern states for action....., Sept. 27 2012
By 
Ronald W. Maron "pilgrim" (Nova Scotia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (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. Yes, the African race were treated as mere chattel and, yes, they were subjected to a fully dehumanizing set of circumstances. But, no they would not normally be treated such that their adult life span was reduced to a few years. Regardless of the location and output of the plantation, they would not be treated to the demonized actions shown by Mr. Legree. They were simply too expensive to replace if the owner placed any value on his profits! And by being so they had little chance of being killed on the arrogant whims that are shown in this novel.

The other interesting concept that is shown in this 1852 publication is the overwhelming influence that the Christian religion had on Miss Stowe's life. While I am certain that the slave population did cling to this religion as a source of comfort due of their circumstances, I doubt if it had the strong influence on other non-blacks that it had on the author. The black slaves were purposely taught by the slave holders, through various means, the full scope of Christian redemption. But they did so not for the slaves salvation but, rather, for their own selfish purposes. It provided for them a more placid, yet hopeful, group of indentured workers that would neither rebel nor disobey their owners. Without concept of an existence of a continued life after death from this horrendous existence, where all things would be completely rectified, slave owners could not have controlled such large mass of people. Rebellion and revolution would have been the rule and not the exception. Miss Stowe, on the other hand, made no mention of this form of manipulation on the owners part and, instead, saw Christianity as being a universal religion that all persons should embrace as she did.

Please, for your own sake, pick up this important work and actually read it instead of merely remembering the slight reference made to it while sitting through 5th grade American history class........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncle Tom's Cabin, Aug. 13 2012
By 
Elva Zwiest "elmoesworld" (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Paperback)
I had meant to read this book many years ago.However, just recently got a copy and I bought it through Amazon. The writing style of course is archaic, but considering the era it was written in it is to be expected. Gives wonderful insight on slavery and some of the horrors these people had to face. Wonderful book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, Dec 5 2014
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This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Paperback)
Excellent service, a difficult read though. Many thanks, Sara
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, Nov. 7 2014
This review is from: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Paperback)
Strongly brought out every emotion in me !
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Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Paperback - Aug. 1 2005)
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