What does it mean to be free? The first black hero of literature, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Tom is a slave who suffers for refusing to obey his white oppressors. Few books have changed the world as much as Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was published in 1852, nine years before the start of the American Civil War. It galvanized opposition to slavery in the free states, vividly dramatizing slavery's cruelties for mass audiences. The Knickerbocker Classics bring together the essential works of classic authors from around the world in stunning editions to be collected and enjoyed.