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Twelve Years a Slave [Paperback]

Solomon Northup
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,379 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 May 2014
Twelve Years a Slave (1853) is a memoir and slave narrative by Solomon Northup, as told to and edited by David Wilson. Northup, a black man who was born free in New York, details his kidnapping in Washington, D.C. and subsequent sale into slavery. After having been kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana by various masters, Northup was able to write to friends and family in New York, who were in turn able to secure his release. Northup's account provides extensive details on the slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans and describes at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana. The work was published by Derby & Miller of Auburn, New York, soon after Harriet Beecher Stowe's best-selling novel about slavery, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), to which it lent factual support. Northup's book, dedicated to Stowe, sold 30,000 copies, making it a bestseller in its own right. After being published in several editions in the 19th century, the book fell into obscurity for nearly 100 years, until it was re-discovered on separate occasions by two Louisiana historians, Sue Eakin (Louisiana State University at Alexandria) and Joseph Logsdon (University of New Orleans). In the early 1960s, they researched and retraced Solomon Northup’s journey and co-edited a historically annotated version that was published by LSU Press in 1968. The memoir has been adapted and produced as the 1984 PBS television movie Solomon Northup's Odyssey and the 2013 Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (20 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1499611552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499611557
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 0.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,379 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

It is better than the film... A testament to the glory of the human spirit in triumph over the worst of human abuse. --Daily Telegraph

Glowing reviews of the forthcoming film of this book have reawakened interest in the original source material, and justifably so. --Daily Mail

12 Years a Slave deserves to win a hatful of Oscars as a moving and intelligently unsentimental film. --The Mirror

Glowing reviews of the forthcoming film of this book have reawakened interest in the original source material, and justifably so. --Daily Mail

12 Years a Slave deserves to win a hatful of Oscars as a moving and intelligently unsentimental film. --The Mirror

Glowing reviews of the forthcoming film of this book have reawakened interest in the original source material, and justifably so. --Daily Mail

12 Years a Slave deserves to win a hatful of Oscars as a moving and intelligently unsentimental film. --The Mirror --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Solomon Northup (1864-1875) was an African American carpenter who was born free in Minerva, Essex County, New York, but was bound into slavery later in life for a period of 12 years. He regained his freedom in January of 1853. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
130 of 138 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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174 of 187 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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8 of 8 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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Denis Vukosav TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
For everyone, no matter their colour, to read and appreciate where we've been in history and work hard to ensure the future is nothing but better for us all!
Published 1 hour ago by Precious
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good overall.
Published 22 hours ago by Leelu
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking story
Loved this book
Published 1 day ago by Magscave
5.0 out of 5 stars I found this book a hard read, I suppose ...
I found this book a hard read, I suppose that could be because it was written by Soloman Nothup himself a long time ago. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Connie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A wonderful and horrendous story.Some words difficult to understand,but generally hard to put down.
Published 1 day ago by michael smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
enjoyed the book..
Published 1 day ago by It won't let me buy it
4.0 out of 5 stars engaging, poignant and thought provoking
Solomon tells his story with a quiet dignified strength. A passion to see justice done and his freedom returned. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This book is readable but not riveting. I did get to the end but did consider giving up.
Published 1 day ago by Linda Green, L
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
As stated
Published 2 days ago by Lynne Simmons
3.0 out of 5 stars Moving
A moving account of the injustices of slavery. Worth reading but I found it rather wordy and heavy going in places.
Published 2 days ago by A. Barrett
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