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Uncle Tom's Cabin (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

Harriet Beecher Stowe
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (808 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 2005 0486440281 978-0486440286 0
Selling more than 300,000 copies the first year it was published, Stowe's powerful abolitionist novel fueled the fire of the human rights debate in 1852. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.
Stowe's characters are powerfully and humanly realized in Uncle Tom, a majestic and heroic slave whose faith and dignity are never corrupted; Eliza and her husband, George, who elude slave catchers and eventually flee a country that condones slavery; Simon Legree, a brutal plantation owner; Little Eva, who suffers emotionally and physically from the suffering of slaves; and fun-loving Topsy, Eva's slave playmate.
Critics, scholars, and students are today revisiting this monumental work with a new objectivity, focusing on Stowe's compelling portrayal of women and the novel's theological underpinnings.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Variously beloved, denounced and dismissed over its 150-plus year history, Stowe's classic 1852 novel has been nothing if not productive. As Gates and Robbins note, the novel was vastly important in shaping American ideas and attitudes about race, but it also influenced the ways people thought about relationships and sexuality, and it continues to spur debate about the meanings of slavery and domesticity. Those are just some of the reasons it's an oft-assigned text in colleges, a market this beautifully annotated, wide-format edition addresses nicely. Joining seven other titles in Norton's handsomely produced "Annotated" series, the book offers 32 pages of color illustrations (not seen by PW), 150 b&w period illustrations, and a two-column format that has Stowe's text at left, and the annotations at right.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Celebrated when it was published in 1852 and later vilified, Uncle Tom's Cabin unquestionably changed American history and has had an enduring impact on American literature. In this annotated version of the novel, college professors Gates and Robbins explore changes in perspective on race, sex, and literature since the publication of the novel and its subsequent critique in the 1950s by James Baldwin. Throughout the book are illustrations of Uncle Tom across the years, including posters, postcards, woodcuts, and advertisements, all reflecting changing images of Uncle Tom and black Americans. Gates and Robbins explore images of heroism and subservience, contrasting the unctuous sentimentality of the novel with the implicit sexual tension between Uncle Tom and Little Eva, and explore the reason the novel remains so strong in the public imagination. Both new readers and those familiar with the work will appreciate the scholarly insight into the culture and social conventions that directed Stowe's writing. She sought to rouse abolitionist sentiments and, in the process, rendered Uncle Tom as no threat to white men. The editors ultimately applaud the novel as an enduring part of the American literary canon. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486440281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486440286
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (808 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
288 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and judge for yourself May 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Uncle Tom's cabin is frequently criticized by people who have never read the work, myself included. I decided I finally needed to read it and judge it for myself. And I have to say, that for all its shortcomings (and it does have them), it is really a remarkable book. The standout characteristics of this book are the narrative drive (it's a very exciting, hard to put down book), the vivid characters (I don't know what other reviewers were reading, but I found the characters extremely vivid and mostly believable - exceptions to follow), the sprawling cast, the several completely different worlds that were masterfully portrayed, and the strong female characters in the book. The portrayal of slavery and its effects on families and on individuals is gut-wrenching - when Uncle Tom has to leave his family, and when Eliza may lose little Harry, one feels utterly desolate.
As for flaws, yes, Mrs. Stowe does sermonize a fair bit, and her sentences and pronouncements can be smug. Yes, if you're not a Christian, you may find all her Christian references a bit much. (But the majority of her readers claimed to be Christian, and it was her appeal to the spirit of Christ that was her most powerful tug at the emotions of her readers). Yes, she still had some stereotypical views of African-Americans (frankly, I think most people have stereotypical views of races other than their own, they just don't state them as clearly today). But in her time, she went far beyond the efforts of most of her contemporaries to both see and portray her African-American brothers and sisters are equal to her. The best way she did this was in her multi-dimensional portrayal of her Negro characters -- they are, in fact, more believable and more diverse than her white characters.
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent background but read the novel first November 23, 2006
Format:Hardcover
John Updike reviews this new edition in the Nov 6 New Yorker, which is available online and well worth looking up. With 100 pages to go, Updike tired of the "irritable sniping from the sidelines" and switched to the standard Library of America edition.

A few months ago I reviewed the Penguin edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin here in Amazon. I suggested that if you decide to read the novel, skip the Introduction until you are done reading, because it gives away several plot points that you are better off encountering for yourself directly.

The same applies to this new annotated edition I think. The novel is not so difficult that you can't simply read it through on your own. I suggest doing that first, in a standard edition, then going through this edition. Otherwise you are having only a mediated experience of the work. In other words, let the work stand or fall on its own merits first, before exposing yourself to the opinions of others about it.

Having read the standard edition earlier I then read this annotated edition "inside out". That is, I read the introductory chapters and the annotations themselves straight through and used Stowe's text as the reference. This is a better approach I think than trying to read the text for the first time with the annotations nearby, where they do intrude and interrupt the flow of the story.

When reading the annotations this way though you do notice the inconsistency in voice that Updike mentions. Most are carefully neutral but you get an occasional first-person remark like "I confess my eyes glazed over" (gee that's helpful), then "again, our eyes glaze over" or "I recall Baldwin's...". Or "I am close to turning the page." then "...bore us silly", in the same annotation.
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247 of 264 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I finally read this excellent book! November 11, 2009
By CCC
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Since this was a free Kindle download, I was prompted to finally read this classic book. It is much better than I expected it would be! Easy to read, well-written, and eye-opening. I noticed another reviewer said the download version was hard to read, but I did not find that to be a problem at all. One nice thing about the Kindle is the ability to download so many classics for free. I doubt I would go to the library and check out Uncle Tom's Cabin, but I would and did read it as a free Kindle download. I am glad that I did!
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143 of 151 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another surprised reader July 27, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I too was surprised by "Uncle Tom's Cabin." I'd expected a poorly written melodrama with (at best) a tepid commitment to abolition and a strong undercurrent of racism. I was wrong. As a novel, I consider it to be better than many of its rough contemporaries (including "A Tale of Two Cities," "Vanity Fair," and "Sartor Resartus"). As an attack on slavery, it is uncompromising, well informed, logically sophisticated, and morally unassailable. It's also exciting, educational, and often funny.
The book has flaws, of course. The quality of the writing is variable, as it is in the works of many greater talents than Stowe. Herman Melville is one of my favorite writers, but I'd be hard-pressed to defend some of his sentences--or even some of his books--on purely literary grounds! There are indeed sentimental passages in "UTC." So what? There are plenty in Hawthorne, Dickens, Ruskin, and the Brontes, too...and lord knows our age has its own garish pieties. There are also a couple (only a couple!) of unfortunate remarks on the "childlike" character of slaves, but nothing so offensive as to render suspect Stowe's passionate belief that blacks are equal to whites in the eyes of God and must not be enslaved. (She also says that differences between blacks and whites do not result from a difference in innate ability, and argues that a white person raised to be a slave would show all the characteristics of one). By contrast, Plato wrote reams in defense of slavery and racialism, and yet people who point this out are considered spoilsports, if not philistines.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
very nice, electronic download great!
Published 1 day ago by Dewayne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing book. Should be required reading in our schools
Published 2 days ago by Tracy Jolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still reading
Published 3 days ago by Sherrie L. Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars Too bad it is not required reading in our schools
This is the first time I had read this book. It broadened my perspective on the issue of slavery, racism, and man's inhumanity to man in the United States. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Linda A. Botts
5.0 out of 5 stars Brought Tears
Found the Story to be very heart wrenching. A most terrible page from America's History. it makes me wonder though how "Uncle Tom" has become a derogatory term as the... Read more
Published 10 days ago by steve weber
5.0 out of 5 stars great book! Should be read by all
great book ! Should be read by all! A look at slavery from a slaves point of view. I can only imagine the reaction when this book published.
Published 10 days ago by Don Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Who doesn't love a classic?
It's really great that we are able to download classic literary material for free. Uncle Tom's Cabin is definitely a book that should be read to gain knowledge of others' life... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Hollywood Adjacent 13
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read.
A historical book with an excellent story. Some people may not like the language used but it is entirely appropriate for the 1800's. Everyone should read this.
Published 11 days ago by TooClose2DC
5.0 out of 5 stars Unclear Tom's Cabin
This was my first time reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and I enjoyed it very much. I don't understand the fuss that was recently in the news. Read more
Published 11 days ago by ren
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone shour read it
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a historical classic. Everyone should read it to understand the slave era. It was not just hard work and lack of personal freedom, but a practice that made a... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Sally Marcum
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