Uncle Tom's Cabin is one of the most impactful books of all time. It was the 2nd best-selling book of the 19th century, behind only the bible. When Abraham Lincoln finally met its author, he apparently said (though he may not have), "So this is the little lady who started this great war."
Though it's a novel, its purpose is to educate the reader about slavery. The author based the characters and plot on her own witness of real life as it was in the mid-1800s. What a sad time in American history.
Though we all know about slavery, this book makes it pretty real. It's the details that you might not think about, that when painted for you, can illustrate and educate about what some typical lives may have felt like at the time. It seemed to me that the excellent movie 12 Years A Slave borrowed a lot of its story from this book.
I recommend Uncle Tom's Cabin to anyone with an interest in history.