Harriet Beecher Stowe
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This is the novel that made Stowe famous. Stowe's book didn't start the Civil War, but it certainly helped change the course of American history. During her lifetime, the anti-slavery book sold three million copies and was translated into 37 languages.
Though Uncle Tom's Cabin was certainly Stowe's best known book, it was not her only one. Stowe wrote roughly one book per year for 30 years straight. Her novel The Minister's Wooing was a satiric reflection on Calvinism, the uncompromising Christian theology preached by her father. Stowe wrote the book two years after her son Henry drowned, and the book also explores a mother's grief over losing a child.
Stowe's son Charles wrote this biography of his mother using information gleaned from her letters and journals. Though the writer is obviously biased, the book is a loving tribute to a woman much respected by her seven children, only three of whom outlived her.
The Beecher family's progressive ideals extended to women's rights. Harriet Beecher Stowe and her sister Catherine Beecher wrote this book premised on the radical idea that the work women did to run their households was important, and as deserving of study as men's professions.
Former slave Josiah Henson escaped to Canada in 1830 at the age of 41. His autobiography is believed to have inspired Stowe during the writing of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Stowe wrote a preface to a later edition of his memoir.
Hedrick's is one of the best biographies written on Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe was a standout in a family of standouts – her father and brother were famous preachers, and many of her thirteen (!) siblings and half-siblings were distinguished as well. This biography looks at Stowe's life and achievements in the context of her time and her unique background.