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Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Battle for America Hardcover – June 13, 2011
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"Best of the Year in Nonfiction," - Kirkus
“Top Spring Nonfiction Picks,” - Publishers Weekly and Library Journal
“Expansive and illuminating….One of the pleasures of "Mightier Than the Sword" is discovering that "Uncle Tom"'s fingerprints on history are almost everywhere.” - Adam Goodheart, “Slate”
“Starred Review: A provocative overview of the life and afterlife of one of American literature’s most important texts….A sharp work of cross-disciplinary criticism that gives new power to a diminished novel. Reynolds successfully repositions the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe as a major political work, crucial not just to the abolitionist movement, but as kindling for the Civil War and an important inspiration to the cultural discussions of race relations through most of the 20th century” (Kirkus Reviews )
“Consistently enlightening…Mightier Than the Sword deftly explores the social-intellectual context and personal experience out of which Stowe’s novel evolved into a grand entertainment and a titanic engine of change.” (The Boston Globe )
“Reynolds is a virtuoso writer…A fitting tribute to the 200th anniversary of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s birth.” (Mike Harvkey - Publishers Weekly )
“Fascinating…a lively and perceptive cultural history.” (The New Yorker - Annette Gordon-Reed )
“Bravura work….Reynolds has given us another cultural history of assured mastery, a history that combines deep erudition, lightly worn, with a lively and readable style.” (Dallas Morning News )
“A subtle and splendid history of the novel’s effect on American culture.” (Wall Street Journal )
“Insightful,….informative,….rewarding.” (New York Times Book Review )
“You can always count on David Reynolds to surprise and delight, and in his latest work, he does not disappoint. This time, he sets his sights on the far-ranging and fascinating impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe's mammoth bestseller, Uncle Tom's Cabin. In Reynolds’s gifted hands, Mightier Than The Sword is nothing less than an intellectual feast. Bravo for yet another superb book.” (Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval )
“A wonderful history of what may justly be considered America’s national epic.” (Joan Hedrick, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life )
“Deeply researched and compulsively readable…Both the definitive account of the strange but true career of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and a sweeping two-hundred year history of race in America.” (Debby Applegate, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher )
Top Customer Reviews
Nevertheless, as the Times pointed out: "If ever there was a publishing event to prove the principle that timing is everything, Uncle Tom's Cabin was it. On both sides of the sectional divide the timber was dry--and Stowe struck the igniting spark. In the North, Frederick Douglass rejoiced that she had `baptized with holy fire myriads who before cared nothing for the bleeding slave.'"
That's why I'm giving American Studies scholar David S. Reynolds' new book 5 stars. This is more than an individual book of history. It's part of the dramatic rewriting of what Americans thought we knew about the Civil War era and its long legacy. There are countless examples involving all aspects of that turbulent era--but, simply within the realm of racial politics, a great deal is changing in our assumptions about the Civil War's legacy. One example is the work of historian David Blight in a book like Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, where he completely overturns our previous nostalgic memories of Memorial Day. A second example, further along in that legacy, is Daniel L. Buttry's new book ...Read more ›
The writing is engaging and clear; there is alot of material for students looking for good research avenues as well as general readers looking for a detailed portrait of American popular culture in the 19th century. Stowe's UTC is unique in American letters and Reynold's to his credit, never lets that out of his sight.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like the history detailing events and persons. Example, when the author spoke of a character he gave enough history to make the character understood in the context of the event... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eddie Blanton
I think this is a good book. It really is in the genre of literary analysis, but unlike almost all books of that kind, this is accessible. Read morePublished 16 months ago by lyndonbrecht
This is a terrific effort by Professor Reynolds. He goes into great detail about the philosophical, religious and literary underpinnings of Harriet Beecher Stowe's most... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Tony Covatta
The story behind Uncle Tom's Cabin is fascinating. Harriet Beecher Stowe's life is interesting. The effect the novel had on the world is inspiring.Published on February 3, 2013 by Mr. S. Roberts
This is an impressive study of the role "Uncle Tom's Cabin" played, and continues to play, in American literature and race relations. Read more
The breadth and scope of this book on Uncle Tom's Cabin by David S. Reynolds is breathtaking. Reynolds does a great job of placing Harriet Beecher Stowe's book in historical and... Read morePublished on September 29, 2012 by Myron Chartier
Fascinating book. I had to go back and read Uncle Tom's cabin again after reading this. How quickly we forget how the course of history is changed, sparked by a specific event. Read morePublished on July 6, 2012 by Robin Lowery
I read 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' when I was young, and it left a deep impression on me. Mr. Reynolds's book illustrates in vivid terms just how much impact 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' made on... Read morePublished on January 14, 2012 by JYK