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Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers (Unforgettable Americans) Paperback – November 23, 1998

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Unforgettable Americans
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (November 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698116607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698116603
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fritz (Around the World in a Hundred Years) is justly celebrated for her ability to combine wry humor with the salient stories about the subjects of her many biographies. She scores another success with this lively book about the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Fritz's picture of Stowe, however, isn't so much that of an influential writer as it is of a woman struggling to make her voice heard in a family where boys were seen as assets and girls as, simply, not boys. The Beechers, headed by the prominent, iron-willed preacher Lyman Beecher, were both an influential and a tragic family, and they shaped many areas of American thinking and politics. Fritz captures their public and private careers magnificently, in the process unfolding the major events of the Civil War. At the same time, Stowe remains firmly at the center of this well-researched book, and her transformation-from a restless young woman too shy to use her own name in print to a confident speaker whom Lincoln once called "the little lady who started the great big war"-shines through. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-With her usual respect for young readers, Fritz explores not only a life, but also a family, an era, and vitally important social movements. With careful scholarship and without fictionalizing, she vividly evokes the people and times and shows the Beechers' strengths and weaknesses in an engaging, immediate style. It's hard not to feel annoyed with the eldest Beecher sister, Catharine, whose intention was to run everyone's life, and with the ineffectual, hypochondriachal Calvin Stowe, whose demands and crotchets would have derailed a lesser woman than Harriet. Readers will admire her from the start-she is described as a bright young girl who would not be ignored, and later as an overworked wife and mother who somehow managed to write in her non-existent spare time. Fritz covers the same information as two other well-done biographies for this age level, but her approach is different. Robert Jakoubek's Harriet Beecher Stowe (Chelsea, 1989) devotes more space to slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act, and Suzanne Coil's Harriet Beecher Stowe (Watts, 1993) is packed with material about the family. In fewer pages, Fritz conveys the same facts while bringing the subject to life. Librarians should not pass on this book just because they own the other two. It has great appeal, and will be read for pleasure as well as for reports.
Sally Margolis, Deerfield Public Library, IL
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jess on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jean Fritz does a wonderful job with this short biography for young adults. It's easy to read and gives lots of information on Harriet's life without boring you or causing your brain to feel overstuffed. There are pictures as well. I recommend this book for everyone, and it was a big help in my research.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JP in OK on August 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
The lives of the twelve children of Lyman Beecher, a fiery New England minister determined that all his sons become preachers, are chronicled in this book. But the primary focus is on his middle daughter, Harriet Beecher, who longed for her father's love and approval.

The shy, talented Harriet was overshadowed by her older and domineering sister Catherine after the death of their mother when they were young. Trying to please everyone, Harriet lived her life "doing as she ought" and giving in to the desires of almost everyone around her.

During a time of unprecedented upheaval in America because of slavery, it took the urging of her husband, brother, and a dear sister-in-law to convince Harriet to use her pen to change the world. The result was Uncle Tom's Cabin, a novel that, in President Lincoln's words, "started this big war." It was her story that changed the minds of many in America and led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War to end slavery.

The entire Beecher family suffered with bouts of depression in a day when there was no medical help available. In addition, the influence of a harsh, critical father who preached God's wrath and judgment sent his twelve children in opposite directions. Two committed suicide, one was institutionalized for insanity, and others spent their lives meddling in the affairs of their family. The saving grace of the family resulted in Henry Ward Beecher, one of the best known and beloved preachers of New England, three other ministers, and Harriet, whose passion and sense of justice made her the toast of Europe and the conscience of America in the late 19th century.

This unpretentious book is a vaulable essay for young ministers especially, but also for anyone who enjoys history and biographies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was recomended to my by one of my study books after I finished reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book gives you insightful information about Harriet and her family, but does not make it dull. It is not to long of a book perfect for those readers who don't want to waste time on extra information. This book made me want to study further on about Harriet Beecher Stowe and learn more about her. I highly recomend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about someone and their part of making history.
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More About the Author

"The question I am most often asked," Jean Fritz says, "is how do I find my ideas? The answer is: I don't. Ideas find me. A character in history will suddenly step right out of the past and demand a book. Generally people don't bother to speak to me unless there's a good chance that I'll take them on." Throughout almost four decades of writing about history, Jean Fritz has taken on plenty of people, starting with George Washington in The Cabin Faced West (1958). Since then, her refreshingly informal historical biographies for children have been widely acclaimed as "unconventional," "good-humored," "witty," "irrepressible," and "extraordinary."In her role as biographer, Jean Fritz attempts to uncover the adventures and personalities behind each character she researches. "Once my character and I have reached an understanding," she explains, "then I begin the detective work--reading old books, old letters, old newspapers, and visiting the places where my subject lived. Often I turn up surprises and of course I pass these on." It is her penchant for making distant historical figures seem real that brings the characters to life and makes the biographies entertaining, informative, and filled with natural child appeal.An original and lively thinker, as well as an inspiration to children and adults, Jean Fritz is undeniably a master of her craft. She was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for her "substantial and lasting contribution to children's literature," and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, which was presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work.

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