Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers

Book review by
Tanya Smith, Common Sense Media
Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers Book Poster Image
An earnest group biography leavened with humor.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence

Depression runs in the Beecher family, resulting in treatments--and suicides.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beecher Stowe's quest to end slavery -- and to make a name for herself -- is at the heart of this biography.

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What's the story?

This insightful biography examines the lives of Harriet Beecher Stowe, her numerous siblings, and their fire-and-brimstone preacher father against the backdrop of their times.

Within the volume's nine chapters, the reader learns how the abolitionist movement stirred Beecher Stowe to write her watershed novel and in the process define herself as more than just a wife, mother, and daughter.

The book's illustrations include a Beecher family tree, a few drawings by Beecher Stowe, and black-and-white photographs of the clan and their homes. There is a handwritten page from the Uncle Tom's Cabin manuscript, along with an illustration from the book. This book contains a detailed index, a bibliography, an afterword, and a notes section.

Is it any good?

This earnest group biography is leavened with humor and provides revealing glimpses into the Beecher mind-set and psyche. Admirably, the book doesn't shy away from the problems that plagued this famous family: It was said that all the Beechers suffered from nervous conditions. Many of them, including Harriet, were self-labeled "hypos," or hypochondriacs (at the time, the term was applied to people suffering from depression).

The story of how Beecher Stowe came to write her classic novel, and in the process find herself, transcends time. Lots of quotes, ample character description, and a dash of humor bring the characters to life; illustrations include black-and-white photographs and Beecher Stowe memorabilia.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about social justice and commitment to a cause. Have you ever felt like Harriet Beecher Stowe about a particular issue? Families can also discuss the roles and expectations for women in the 19th century and how they have changed to the present day.

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