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12 Years a Slave Paperback – 9 Apr 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (9 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1499102534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499102536
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup's tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement." --Ira Berlin, from the Introduction "When I read ["Twelve Years a Slave"] for the first time, it was like the first time I read Anne Frank's diary. And I wondered to myself, 'Why isn't this book on everyone's bookshelf.' . . . For me, it's a classic. It should be in every school." --Steve McQueen, director of the film adaptation of "Twelve Years a Slave, "in "Entertainment Weekly" "Frightening, gripping and inspiring . . . Northup's story seems almost biblical, structured as it is as a descent and resurrection narrative of a protagonist who, like Christ, was 33 at the time of his abduction. . . . Northup reminds us of the fragile nature of freedom in any human society and the harsh reality that whatever legal boundaries existed between so-called free states and slave states in 1841, no black man, woman or child was permanently safe." "--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "The Root"" "A moving, vital testament to one of slavery's 'many thousands gone' who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation. It is also a chilling insight into the 'peculiar institution.'" --"Saturday Review" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Solomon Northup was born a free man in Minerva, Essex County, New York in July 1808.

His father, Mintus Northup, was a freed slave, who took his surname from the family he had served. Mintus's master, Captain Henry Northup, granted Mintus his freedom in his will. After the death of Captain Northup, Mintus, as well as becoming a free man, also managed, later on, to gain the vote by virtue of meeting New York State's property requirements, an impressive feat for someone coming from such a humble background. Mintus died in 1829.

Solomon's mother – unnamed in the book – was a woman of mixed ancestry. There are only sketchy details about her in Solomon's memoir, but it is mentioned that she died while Solomon was held as a slave in the Deep South. Solomon described his mother as a quadroon, meaning she was one quarter black and three-quarters white.

In 1829, Solomon married Anne Hampton, a woman of African, European and Native American heritage, and together they had three children: Elizabeth, Margaret and Alonzo. Solomon Northup worked as a raftsman, carpenter, construction worker and a fiddler, and he and his family initially owned a farm in Hebron, Washington County, before moving to Saratoga Springs, New York to take advantage of better employment prospects. Whilst Solomon worked, mainly as a musician, Anne was employed intermittently as a cook for local taverns and for the United States Hotel.

In 1841, aged 32, Solomon Northup met with two men who called themselves Merrill Brown and Abram Hamilton. After gaining his trust, they drugged him and sold him to slave trader, James Birch, and claimed that Solomon was a fugitive slave. Solomon was then taken to Louisiana, where he remained in slavery for twelve years. It is these twelve years of slavery that are reflected on in this compelling memoir.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. P. Whelband on 27 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in advance of Steve's McQueen's film which is expected to sweep the board during awards season. it did not disappoint. It plainly presents with searing honesty, an account of the horrors of slavery in the deep south. It's a stark reminder of the animalistic tendencies which so easily can debase humankind: 'evil pervades when good people do nothing...' We all need to be on our guard as modern slavery - in one form or another - is still with us today. We ought to remain vigilant and stamp it out when ever it rears its ugly head. This book should be on the school curriculum.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pam Thompson on 28 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Saw the film. Had to buy the book which now stands proudly on my bookshelf. It will be passed from my generation to my sons and their children. A history which we are all familiar with. Not a dry eye in the cinema. Joy/sadness/happiness. Such inhumane treatment to another person is shocking, revolting, unbelievable and yet it really took place. This film really brought home the enormity of slavery at its peak. I hope you enjoy the film /book . Now it is all our duty to ensure that people are treated with respect and dignity regardless of the colour or their skin or who they are.
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I watched the movie last week and came straight home to order the book. Kudos to Steve McQueen who unfurled a remarkable story but one has to read the book to fully appreciate the intricacies of Solomon Northup's story and the sheer brutality of those times. The manner of writing proved to be hard going at times but that was more to do with the era the book was written than anything else. Having said that, there were some parts beautifully and poetically written. The story itself is nothing short of remarkable. That Solomon eventually lives to see his freedom is miraculous, given the many obstacles he faced. Solomon's was the story told, but the stories of any number of his sojourners during his 12 year journey would be equally harrowing, not least that of Eliza, which would prove to be particularly distressing.
For me, the most remarkable part of the story was how the exact plantation and Solomon was located. For had providence not intervened, it would have been nigh impossible to locate Platt.

There was Solomon's hope, strength and fortitude, Eliza's sorrow, Bass's courage and humanity and much much more.
Simply put, I love the story and I like the book.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Trotter on 22 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
The book reveals nothing we didnt already know about the cruelty of slavery. However the beauty is in how it is written and one can imagine how the very detailed and descriptive text would have been considered truelly shocking in the 1870s when it was written. The book has left me keen to see the film due out early next year which by all accounts is going to be sensational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By abbey on 2 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Splended read. Thoroughly enjoyed the story: felt as though I was there with the author. Could empathise with all of the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Motorhomermaid on 13 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to see the movie but missed it so got the book instead.Great read will wait for the DVD but still like my stories TO READ
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ballot on 5 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book though it would not be everybodies cup of tea as the prose of the sentences is a bit hard to understand. Have yet to see the film.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tina Kotecha on 26 Sept. 2013
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Great book I bought this because of the release of the movie, exciting and engaging read don't want to put it down.
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