Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe
By Philip Mcfarland
(Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802118455, 320pp.)
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
List Price: $26.00*
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So you’re the little lady who started the war,” Abraham Lincoln is rumored to have said when he met the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s groundbreaking novel forced an ambivalent North to confront the atrocities of slavery, yet her accomplishment was just one of many of the Beechers, the most eminent American family of the nineteenth century. In this intimate account, historian Philip McFarland follows the Beecher clan to the frontier boom town of Cincinnati, where Harriet’s glimpses of slavery across the Kentucky border moved her to pen Uncle Tom’s Cabin . We meet Harriet’s foremost loves: her father Lyman, her husband Calvin, and her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, the most famous preacher of his time whose trial for adultery riveted the nation. And as McFarland traces the arc of Harriet’s literary career from her hardscrabble beginnings as a freelancer to her ascendancy as the most renowned writer of the age, he crafts her family’s story into a detailed rendering of mid-nineteenth-century America in the midst of social and demographic explosions that are still being felt to this day.