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Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics) Paperback – 6 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007580428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007580422
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (820 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘The most remarkable book ever issued from the American press.’ Detroit Tribune

‘For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup's tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement.’ Ira Berlin

About the Author

Solomon Northup was born a free man in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1808. He lived as such until 1841 when, attracted by a job offer, he travelled to Washington, DC, where he was drugged and sold into slavery by his supposed employers. Northup was enslaved for twelve years before he regained his freedom and returned to New York. There, he became an advocate for abolitionism and in the 1860s began helping fugitive slaves via the Underground Railroad. Northup is believed to have died between 1863 and 1875, but both the date and circumstances of his death are unknown.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

199 of 213 people found the following review helpful By Anari on 27 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The cruelty of the human race never fails to amaze me. I have no doubt that Solomon Northup's narrative is as accurate as it can be, but the content of this book is truly shocking. This glimpse into African American enslavement is one of horror and shows just how brutal man can be to his fellows.

Solomon is captured and enslaved against his will, removed from his wife and two children and transported by sea to begin his new life as the chattel of another man. What he witnesses in his 12 years of enslavement is harrowing, to say the least. This is a land where Mothers are forcibly removed from their children, brutal whippings occur with frightening frequency, near starvation and being worked literally to death were common occurrences. Slaves were not even given the most basic privileges of a knife and fork or plate upon which to eat. Imagine a life where you cannot travel, marry or even post a letter without your owner's permission!

Thankfully, Solomon eventually finds a way out of his predicament, but it was a risk that might have caused his own death had it backfired on him.

Conclusion: A 5 star read. Once I picked it up, I simply could not put it down. Let's just hope that the world continues to endeavor to allow every man the right to his freedom.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name on 4 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
Book was as good as expected from the reviews if not better, found it very informative and highly engaging. Book leaves you in the mind frame of thinking alot about your roots but i think the book is definitely worth having.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By james beck on 28 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book transports the reader to a life of horror that cannot be imagined. From a very violent capture and enslavement to many years of torture, starvation and overwork. To think that the writer celebrates his final freedom, while his 'owner' only looks at the situation as a loss of property is hard to put into perspective. While Solomon Northup is finally safe in the arms of his family, those who were his co-workers, or fellow slaves were left behind to suffer further beatings, starvation diet and eventually death, without ever having the freedom to choose the course of their own lives. The book leaves the reader with joy that Solomon finally returns home, but overwhelming sadness for all of those left behind.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. H. Wheeler on 23 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an appalling first person diary of human cruelty and maltreatment, but it does make for page-turning without cessation...it beggars belief on many levels, but also tells the story of the curse of human bondage. If you are a history buff, you'll enjoy the look into a pre-Civil War life, gain many insights to the mechanics of slave trade, and see how slave owners were loathed and loved as well, depending on their behaviour to their property. The film should be fantastic, but be warned; if it is as graphic as the book's accounts, it'll be disturbing. More than anything, this book is about lousy luck!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Katie on 9 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this partly because I had just seen the film and partly because I wanted to download something to my new kindle. I was surprised to find that it is actually several books about slavery in the edition I bought.

12 years a slave is spellbinding. I had already read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" years ago, and I don't know why "12 Years" has never received more acclaim. It is at least as good as Uncle Tom, and has the added advantages of being a first hand account by someone to whom these experiences really happened. I read it in two days, and am now reading another of the books that came with it in the download, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl", another autobiographical account, and also gripping. Everyone with an interest in the subject should read these.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Semone Thompson on 4 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thought provoking, a good read indeed. Unfair, unjust, deliverance. Glad justice prevailed!!
Cannot wait to to see the film adaptation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER on 17 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is powerful, maddeningly brutal, heartfelt and hard to forget.

I've put off reading this for several months, knowing the content from the Oscar-winning film. Actually, it wasn't as hard to read as I'd feared, but scenes will linger for me.

I've read The Long Song, Chains, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Beloved. Solomon made it more real for me, the husband and father doing what he can to get home.

His writing style is very much of the period, which I don't have issues with, though some descriptions of farming procedures held little interest in the context of the book for me.

Some of the more shocking scenes were actually those in which slaves are 'granted' three days holiday for Christmas, treated to sumptuous meals and dances by their usually whip-wielding 'masters'. The enjoyment and laughter resulting had me in floods of angry tears.

Solomon wisely state facts and leaves opinion to us his readers. The actions of the participants speak for themselves. Bass I would want awarding medals. To stand out against public opinion and speak as he did - commendable.

It's a book that by rights should be reqiired reading by every secondary school student in the UK and USA. More than textbooks, films, question sheets, students will be forcsped to think about what nations did in their past, what happens when greed trumps humanity.

Not a book you will enjoy but one you won't regret letting into your conscience.
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