Josiah Henson, ""an appealing little fellow,"" was born a slave in Maryland in 1789. He saw his father whipped and sent away for defending his mother from being raped, saw his brothers and sisters sold away in slavery, and was himself as a very young boy sold away from his mother. (They were later reunited.) As a boy he was beaten unconscious for having the audacity to try to learn how to read; as a young man he was beaten so severely that he never regained full use of his arms. Yet he learned to be an efficient farm laborer and grew up to be a trusted overseer on a Maryland plantation--trusted enough to lead a group of slaves through the free state of Ohio on their way to Kentucky where they would once again be enslaved. Eventually he wised up, and after having bought and been cheated out of his freedom, managed to escape with his wife and children to Canada. He became well-known as a preacher, and helped found a Canadian settlement for black fugitives. He became an active participant in the Underground Railroad, was an eloquent speaker in the anti-slavery movement, and wrote his autobiography. Harriet Beecher Stowe read the biography, met the man, and we all know the rest. Except that Mr. Henson undoubtedly presented himself more eloquently and charismatically than Frances Cavanah does. Despite the book's snappy title, all that emerges is a tired ""Uncle Tom.