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Twelve Years a Slave
 
 

Twelve Years a Slave [Kindle Edition]

Solomon Northup
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,258 customer reviews)

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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"

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#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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
129 of 137 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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172 of 185 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 years a slave 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe its a true story. 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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47 of 51 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 Years as a Slave 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw truth 16 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a fantastic book. The eloquent writing style expressed the strong personality of the author throughout. It immerses us into the world of slavery and is heartbreaking, not only for the injustices Soloman suffered, but the suffering that the other slaves had to endure for the rest of their lives, even when Soloman was restored to liberty. The sequence of events are believable and portrayed with raw honesty.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent 5 Jan 2014
By Cee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a must-read. It is dated, obviously, but it's still a riveting story with eye-opening detail about the atrocities of US slavery. This gives the lie to Uncle Tom and the 'happy workers' myth put out by those who try to brush the whole thing under the carpet. Essential reading for any complacent Daily Mail reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I did not put this down until it was finished.
Published 58 minutes ago by Jenny M
4.0 out of 5 stars Twelve years a slave by Solomon northup
Gave it four stars as I felt it to be an excellent read, giving graphic details of his transfer from freedom to slavery. Read more
Published 12 hours ago by christine kearney
2.0 out of 5 stars A hard read
Really hard to read. Kept trying but just got fed up. Not seen the film but I suspect this is a case where the film is better than the book
Published 13 hours ago by Deborah
5.0 out of 5 stars Need to see the movie now
Very good book. Horrendous what happened I would have demanded abolition of slavery . How the southern states whites were educated must have been awful to have them treat another... Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Michelle Gilmour
4.0 out of 5 stars Good delivery service
Book came in good time, within 6 days of ordering. I've yet to start reading due to the others I must read before hand. Read more
Published 21 hours ago by Ms Nycki Bertie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very happy with this item
Published 1 day ago by rasher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very enjoyable books
Published 1 day ago by Irene McMeekin
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful read
After reading this book, I was able to reflect on how miscarriages of justice. can cause so much heartache and misery.
Published 1 day ago by Sue m
5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve years a slave
This book is very well written & very informative as to how slaves were treated. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject
Published 1 day ago by tom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
AS EXPECTED GOOD VALUE
Published 1 day ago by J. Hold
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