Book Report

In her introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Ann Douglas writes that in 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe was an "overworked housewife" and "minor writer" who "cared surprisingly little for established opinion."

Then her sister-in-law made a suggestion: "If I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that will make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is."

Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, her first novel. It was published in 1852, became the best-seller of the 19th century, and has never gone out of print. "No woman before or since has so successfully written a novel designed to motivate America to act on a major issue of the day."

When President Lincoln met Stowe in 1863, midway through the Civil War, he reportedly called her "the little lady who made this big war."

Did you know that art can change the world?


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