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Twelve Years a Slave Paperback – 1 Jan 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Digireads.com (1 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420925075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420925074
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (943 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 864,623 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 an alternate Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 22 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
The main interest of the book is of course the "autobiographical testimony" it contains. But this particular edition is enriched with notes and various appendices written by the two editors. These notes and appendices create a real perspective providing all available documents or press clippings about most elements the book contains and we cannot be aware of today. The people who are named are then expanded with concrete information and data about who they were and what they did. The events that are mentioned are thoroughly documented from the press of the time and from all available registers and alternative testimonies. The notes and appendices turn the "biographical testimony" into a document that can be considered as mostly truthful beyond the personal vision the author provides us with, for example the fact that he only sees one side of Louisiana as we will mention later, the American takeover and their practice of slavery as chattel exploitation. Solomon Northup could of course not know better and is well forced to ignore the French or Spanish conceptions.

As such this book is a phenomenal tool for people who really want to know what slavery was some 20 to 10 years before the Civil War in the American tradition. It provides us with a detailed description of the treatment, exploitation and management of slaves in the South, even if it only concerns the American side of Louisiana forty years after the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon and France. What's more it provides us with a panorama of what the Northern states and their citizens could know about the practice of this peculiar institution in the Southern States since this book was published in 1853 and was quite successful at the time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lorenzo on 19 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you haven't read this, you should. It's as simple as that. A moving first hand testimony of inhumanity. Only 60% of this edition is the original work, the rest is a mix of newspaper and court records with commentary by Dr Eakin which attempts to present an epilogue to the first hand account of Solomon. The emotion is in his harrowing tale of abuse.
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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 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 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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