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Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    well written biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Jean Fritz is a wonderful author of both fiction (e.g., Early Thunder, The Cabin Faced West, and Brady) and biography (e.g., The Double Life of Pocahontas). Harriet Beecher Stowe was one of America's most famous authors, and her Uncle Tom's Cabin is still in almost every list of the ten top books that have changed the world. Mrs. Stowe's father, Lyman Beecher, and her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, were among America's most popular preachers in each of their times.
    Her husband Calvin Stowe was, unfortunately, instrumental in helping Horace Mann bring the Prussian model of public education to America. Fritz tells the story of Harriet, from her youth, through her marriage, work in the anti-slavery movement, and the Civil War era, to her later life of fame and fortune, weaving information about the lives of her father, mother (who died early in her life), two step-mothers, brothers, sisters, and children into the story. One interesting lesson that can be seen from the book is how one extreme may often lead to another. The strict predestinarian Calvinism of Lyman Beecher played a very formative role in the liberal social gospel of Henry Ward and in even stranger theological phenomena among some of the other Beecher preachers. We did this as a family read aloud and everyone found it very interesting.

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