cover image Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers

Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers

Jean Fritz. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22666-3

Fritz (Around the World in a Hundred Years) is justly celebrated for her ability to combine wry humor with the salient stories about the subjects of her many biographies. She scores another success with this lively book about the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Fritz's picture of Stowe, however, isn't so much that of an influential writer as it is of a woman struggling to make her voice heard in a family where boys were seen as assets and girls as, simply, not boys. The Beechers, headed by the prominent, iron-willed preacher Lyman Beecher, were both an influential and a tragic family, and they shaped many areas of American thinking and politics. Fritz captures their public and private careers magnificently, in the process unfolding the major events of the Civil War. At the same time, Stowe remains firmly at the center of this well-researched book, and her transformation-from a restless young woman too shy to use her own name in print to a confident speaker whom Lincoln once called ``the little lady who started the great big war''-shines through. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)