Written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe, this incredibly powerful novel is this year’s first book for our book group. I suggested it, never having read it in my younger days. For me the time had come, and I am thankful it had.
While the story centers around a devout and faithful black slave, Uncle Tom, who eventually dies at the hands of a wicked master, it also depicts a rich array of characters – both black and white, in all respects – all of whom reinforce the horrors of slavery.
There are over 60 translations and 600 editions of this book, which was a 19th century best seller – second only to the Bible. Initially revered, it was later reviled. “Uncle Tom” became, for awhile, an epitaph connoting a Black man who gave in to white men, a perceived sign of weakness. But the story is moving – actually riveting – and powerful, and although its characters are at times caricatures and overdrawn, it is a rich and wonderful tale, and the true strengths of the book – and Uncle Tom – are now once again appreciated.
I recommend it as a great read (or audio, if you prefer), if you, too, never availed yourself of this treasure in days gone by.