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199 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When All Else Fails, Only Hope Remains
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...
Published 18 months ago by Anari

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't read it the print was far too small
Not much to say is there! Very disappointed was looking forward to reading this. I ordered another edition which was far better.
Published 13 months ago by Harry Potter


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199 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When All Else Fails, Only Hope Remains, 27 Oct. 2013
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 years a slave, 4 Jan. 2014
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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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No small wonder it is now a film!, 23 Oct. 2013
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Mr. J. H. Wheeler "Easy Street" (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 Years as a Slave, 4 Jan. 2014
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars "This is no fiction, no exaggeration", 17 Nov. 2014
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K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars twelve years a slave, 7 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Twelve Years a Slave (Paperback)
this book is superb it is about solomon northup a man living in america in the 1800s who was born a free man but ends up a slave for 12 years there is a film coming out later this year telling this story so if you are going to see it i recommend reading the book first
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent, 5 Jan. 2014
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the film? Now read the book........., 8 Feb. 2015
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reviewsrevues (Isle of Wight UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics) (Paperback)
The book has had a new lease of life as a result of the Oscar winning film, which I waited to watch until I had finished the book and which very much captures the flavour of this extraordinary memoir. Northup was a free man living in New York. On a trip to Washington he was kidnapped and sold into slavery, ending up at a cotton plantation in the South, by then it has been beaten into him that to reveal his real status would only lead to more thrashing and probable death. He cannot even reveal he can read and write. As a slave it’s relentless work, cruel treatments and thrashings for the next twelve years. I was willing on his plan for escape and bitterly sorry for those left on the Epps plantation. He very effectively conveys the futility of the slave existence and the terror that lived inside them all, knowing each day could be their last. There’s occasional deviations outlining how cotton is produced, how sugar is harvested, which is actually quite fascinating and makes his memoir of interest as a historical document as well as a dramatic story. I am ashamed that I did not know of this book before as I have read much Afro-American writing. Thankfully, the film has brought the book back into prominence and Northup’s words can take their place in the canon of great American writing.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 23 Nov. 2013
An absolutely harrowing read. Brutally honest and direct to a fault, it's a book that will leave you battered but determined that this level of cruelty should never again be levelled at other members of the human race. Highly recommended for those who are human.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, 9 Mar. 2014
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M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics) (Paperback)
If you decide to read this book you will see that there is an editor’s preface by David Wilson, who did assist Solomon Northup in writing his memoir. This fact, that a white man helped a black man write his experiences may be one of the reasons that when it comes to books by slaves this is often overlooked. At the time of the first publication of this it was quite well known as it came on the back of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and gave more weight to the abolitionist movement. Solomon did give lectures and such like when this was first published and then dropped out of the limelight, and I don’t think anyone really knows what happened to him, when he died, or where.

Northup was a free man although black, as he was a resident of New York, and his father had been given his freedom in the past. Northup was tricked and then kidnapped and sold on as a slave, which did happen on occasion. It is a part of the slave trade that we seem to overlook when we talk about African American history. You needed to be able to produce documents to prove that you were a free man, and in the case of Northup and many others, they were either stolen, or were not obtained in the first place. Indeed such tricks were quite old and similar ones were played on those Europeans who sold themselves into bondage to eventually achieve something in America.

Solomon gives us his account of how he found himself to be kidnapped and enslaved, and what he went through whilst dreaming of freedom. He was an educated man, practical with his hands and was married with three children and it was truly appalling what happened to him. This story is quite harrowing as most slave literature is and reminds us that such practices still are with us today, and should be stopped.

Because Solomon was from the State of New York, this actually turned out to be his salvation as that State had already passed a statute if such a thing should happen to a black resident, with regards to kidnapping and sold into slavery. For twelve long years Solomon was a slave, and then thankfully due to a Canadian helping him his friends from New York were able to locate him. Mainly in part to the new film release of this that we do in part owe a thanks to this book once more being widely available as it reminds us all of man’s inhumanity to man and that as we are now in the Twenty First Century perhaps more thought and action should be given to preventing slavery and other inhumanities from continually occurring. I’m no optimist and I know that things such as wars are inevitable, but slavery and other degradations of our fellow humans should be stopped if we want to progress as a species.

This book also includes some appendices which give you the law as set out by the State of New York with regards to the kidnapping and slavery of their citizens, the memorial sent by his wife to the Governor, and the freedom of passage given to Solomon by the State of Louisiana. This in all is a compelling and harrowing memoir that I am sure most people interested in the history of slavery, or American history will want to read.
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Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics)
Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics) by Solomon Northup (Paperback - 6 Feb. 2014)
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