How Uncle Tom's Cabin Became One of the Most Popular Books in China


A portrait of Josiah Henson in a book he authored, at Josiah Henson Park in Bethesda, Maryland. His life may have inspired the landmark novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin". MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

Published in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin quickly reached international acclaim, becoming the best-selling novel of the 19th century, and the second-best selling book after the Bible. While this antislavery narrative profoundly affected American attitudes about slavery, the story also had a global reach -- in fact, a Chinese translation of Uncle Tom's Cabin became one of the hottest books of the late Qing Dynasty.