The little woman behind a very big war

The little woman behind a very big war

A Q&A with David S. Reynolds, the author of “Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America,” about Harriet Beecher Stowe’s influence on the Civil War.

According to legend, President Lincoln met an author named Harriet Beecher Stowe and declared: “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

It’s not clear whether Lincoln ever said such a thing. Mythical or not, the words have that ring of truth like so many historical misquotes. But if the president didn’t say it, he should have.

Stowe’s greatest book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” blended gripping narrative, humor and striking characters to expose the inhumanity of slavery. Many Americans would never forget the novel, which remained influential and tremendously popular for decades.

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