Nearly every author dreams of writing a book that will literally change the world. Only a few have succeeded, and Harriet Beecher Stowe is such a marvel. Although the American anti-slavery movement had existed at least as long as the nation itself, Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) galvanized public opinion as nothing had before. The book sold 10,000 copies in its first week and 300,000 in its first year. Its vivid dramatization of slavery's cruelties so aroused readers that it is said Abraham Lincoln, told Stowe her work had been a catalyst for the Civil War. Today the novel is often labeled condescending, but its characters--Tom, Topsy, Little Eva, Eliza, and the evil Simon Legree--still have the power to move our hearts.