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Twelve Years a Slave [Kindle Edition]

Solomon Northup
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,821 customer reviews)

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Book Description

#1 Bestseller

Now a major motion picture directed by Steve McQueen and starring Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Paul Giamatti

12 Years a Slave is a riveting true account of a free man captured and sold into slavery in the pre–Civil War South. Solomon Northup’s narrative explores one of the darkest times in American history and captures in vivid detail the unimaginable realities of slavery.

In 1841, the educated musician Solomon Northup, a free man living in New York who is cruelly deceived by the promise of a job in Washington, is drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. Once Solomon arrives in New Orleans, he is given a slave name and soon realizes that any mention of his rights as a free man is sure to bring cruel punishment or death. Denied his freedom and ripped away from his family, he spends twelve emotionally and physically gruelling years on a Louisiana cotton plantation enduring the hardships and brutalities of life as a slave. When Solomon eventually finds a sympathizing friend, a daring rescue is attempted that could either end in Solomon’s death or restore his freedom and reunite him with his family.

When Solomon Northup published this harrowing account of slavery in 1853, it immediately stirred up controversy in the national debate over slavery, helping to sway public opinion in favour of abolition. His book 12 Years a Slave remains one of the most insightful, detailed, and eloquent depictions of slavery in America. It demonstrates the extraordinary resilience of one man’s spirit in the face of extreme suffering and his incredible will to survive.


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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"

About the Author

Solomon Northup was a renowned fiddle-player who was kidnapped and enslaved for twelve years before he was rescued by an official agent from the state of New York.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1045 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics (22 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FDS85EM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,821 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #692 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
132 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking 19 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story of Soloman Northup is both horrifying and heartbreaking and all the more devastating when you know that it is true. I have seen the film and although it is excellent, I feel that the book explains in more detail exactly what happened. There are parts in the film where I would have wondered why situations developed as they did and the book fills in those gaps. The language in the book is evocative of the time in which it was written and for me was all the more powerful because of the understated tone.
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179 of 193 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"12 Years a Slave" is one of those books that was important and popular in its day but unexplainably over the years it fell from view and into obscurity. In every sense this book by Solomon Northup is the non fiction equivalent of Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic anti slavery tome "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Indeed in many respects it is a better read. Yet whereas the reputation of the latter has played a key role particularly book in the historiography of the origins of the American Civil War, Northup's book only re-emerged in the 1960s after being rediscovered by two Louisiana historians. The books fame will receive a well deserved boost with the forthcoming release of Steve Rodney McQueen's heavily British driven film version. It is already an Oscar contender in the US and is clocking a remarkable 97% rating on the film critics web site "Rotten Tomatoes". There is some inevitable controversy over the films interpretation of the book but that is for another review. Whatever the case the central performances of Chiwetel Ejiofor as "Northup" and Lupita Nyong'o as "Patsey" are said to verge on acting master classes with potential award glories to follow.

First published in 1853 the base line for the book charts the story of Solomon Northup. He was born in Minerva, New York in July 1808, to a liberated slave and his wife. Northup's life as a a free man and brilliant musician takes up the first part of this very powerful short book. In 1841 an encounter he had outside Washington DC with two men "Merrill Brown and Abram Hamilton" changes everything. They essentially kidnap him and sell him into slavery. This base duplicity leads to the telling of a story of a free man forced into bondage and its horrors. He is sold to the notorious Washington-based slave trader James H.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard read - but well worth it. 12 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
it's taken me longer than usual to read this book. Not because it was uninteresting or boring. I honestly found it difficult to read for long periods of time. I felt such despair and frustruation throughout I needed to stop reading for a while. I am humbled by Soloman Northrup and all of those who endured the relentless pain of slavery. I am utterly speechless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book.is an amazing account of Solomon Northup's 12 years in bondage and the hardships and inhumanities that he suffered under slavery in the south, after being kidnapped while a free citizen of the North.

There is.no.doubt that this book should be up there as a classic and also as a piece of historic literature that should be read by everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
"Twelve Years a Slave" by Solomon Northup is famous story about slavery that was two days ago reissued as enhanced edition with Dr. Sue Eakin as contributor.

The novel was released again to accompany the release of the movie full of stars like Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Paul Giamatti, which will be most probably one of the pretenders for this year's Oscar.
Inside reader will find sad but true story about Solomon Northup, a free and educated family man with three children who was of the wrong color and therefore kidnapped and transported to Louisiana experiencing twelve years of slavery.

He work hard in New Orleans, he received new slave name and whenever he mentioned his past he was severely punished for what he quickly realized that it was best to keep quiet about it.
Only thing he could do is to try to survive such hard life not giving up on finding a way to escape from slavery...

The events which were described in this novel are overwhelming and give reader detailed picture how America back then looked like regarding the racial divide.
The story is even more shocking when we remember that main character was born as free man, was educated, and had a family being father of three kids.
Due to the fact that this novel was written more than century and half ago, its style can feel a bit dated using linguistic structure and writing that is characteristic for that period.

Nevertheless, it's obvious that that author was a smart and educated man, which is perhaps the only good thing in this whole situation, because he was able to tell his story unlike countless illiterate and sad black people of that time that couldn't.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more detailed than the film. 19 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Superb account of the trials and tribulations of slavery. Necessarily diluted and compressed for the otherwise brilliant film. I cannot understand why this book hasn't been required reading for the last 150 years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of typing errors in this version 5 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting story, remarkable for its matter-of-fact style. That people could endure such a brutal and unjust situation, yet convey their story without a sense of bitterness or hatred is staggering. I didn't want to see the film because I find it so painful to watch the inhumanity of humankind and I know that I would feel wretched at the end. The tone of the book, however, makes it possible to hear Solomon's story without feeling the horror and perhaps helps you to understand the learned helplessness of a person who is enslaved. What struck me as most shocking was the institutionalization of slavery, that laws existed to legitimize and sustain it, just as with apartheid in South Africa. I knew the facts beforehand but this narrative effectively conveys the everyday reality of that era. I felt the powerlessness of the people, the fact that there was nothing that could be done because if you fought and failed you would lose your life. The character of Patsey was drawn so well with such sparse language - a young woman, a childlike innocence - dehumanized and destroyed. To think that any living being could withstand such pain and to think that there exist such people who can inflict such cruelty.....I just don't get it.
This kindle version is a poor one, filled with typos but I only paid a few pence for it so I guess that's why.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommeded
Thoroughly enjoyed this. A fascinating insight into slavery in days past in the Southern states of USA. I had no idea that people were kidnapped into slavery! Reads very easily.
Published 3 hours ago by Moggie1
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Disappointing considering reviews Tedious around middle section
Published 18 hours ago by pat stretton
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written. Difficult to have a new perspective on ...
Brilliantly written. Difficult to have a new perspective on this period of history, so much written about it, but I couldn't put this book down, highly recommend it.
Published 2 days ago by bracken
2.0 out of 5 stars Belpw Average
The book is rather dull. The layout isnt pleasurable and does not give motivation to read it. There is also a fair amount of grammatical errors, if I were you, I would try and get... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Joshua Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Saw the film so thought I'd get the book. Although I knew the story it's well worth getting the book. Well written.
Published 5 days ago by Teana Ashley
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great film
Published 6 days ago by flashpg
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book different to the film but very good
Published 6 days ago by helzz
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book
good book and has lots of twists and turns that mean you can't put it down
Published 7 days ago by leanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve years a slave
Written in simple words the story horrifies ones that somebody could have gone thru this kind of experience. Very well written
Published 8 days ago by Robbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book much better than the movie and I thought the movie was great
Published 10 days ago by feefee
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