Uncle Tom is an upstanding, trustworthy, Christian man. But because of debts, his owner is forced to sell him. Uncle Tom's story just breaks my heart. If he were real, he would be a person that it would be an honor to know. Instead, he is sold as if he were property and mistreated as if that gentle spirit needed to be broken.
There are many different views of slavery given in this book. We hear perspectives from slave traders and hunters, nice and cruel owners, abolitionists, and the slaves themselves. Harriet Beecher Stowe covered all of her bases, but I was most curious to hear the author's opinion. She obviously disagreed with slavery strongly, which is why she wrote this book in the first place. But she also seemed to view "Africans" as a different, not necessarily equal, race.
Even so, the desire for freedom - the view that everyone should be free, that freedom is fair and right - came through on every page. The concept that the slaves were people just like the white owners were was illustrated again and again. It's hard to believe that the owners and slave traders thought that the slaves wouldn't mind being separated from their families, that they didn't have the same depth of connection and love and feeling that the owners did for their families.
This is a very powerful book, nearly as relevant now as it was 150 years ago. We still need to be reminded of the importance of freedom and equality. We still need to hear that God has created each and every one of us. We still need the message that God can help us through every struggle, no matter how difficult. This book will make you laugh and cry and think - and hopefully, act to right what is wrong in our world today.