HARRIET BEECHER STOWE AND THE BEECHER PREACHERS by Jean Fritz

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE AND THE BEECHER PREACHERS

Age Range: 10 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

The tale of this prominent, brilliant, dangerously high-strung family (two brothers committed suicide) makes a compelling American saga. "Wisht it had been a boy!" grumbled Harriet's father, Lyman, on her birth in 1811, for in an age when women were not even allowed to address groups directly, he intended to raise a family of preachers. And he did. As Fritz (Around the World in a Hundred Years, p. 304, etc.) in her fluent way shows, not only did all seven of his sons climb to pulpits (with greatly varying degrees of reluctance), but three of his four daughters also found ways to air their views publicly -- including Harriet, author of Uncle Toms Cabin, who was ultimately "the best preacher of them all." As usual, Fritz moves easily between the domestic and national scenes, analyzing social trends and historical events in clear-eyed, authoritative ways while bringing her subjects closer to readers with humanizing details. She breaks off her narrative at the Civil War's end, 31 years before Harriet's death, but adds an afterword about each Beecher son's and daughter's subsequent career. Though Jakoubek's Harriet Beecher Stowe (1989) is a more detailed source for Harriet's writings and later life, this makes livelier reading and presents a coherent, well-knit view of the Beechers' place in our country's history. (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-22666-4
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1994




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