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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 Twelve years a slave.
I haven't seen the film so not comparing There was just something missing which I can't put my finger on that makes this book bland in both style and fact. The reader certainly does not get to the end and has a better understanding of what the slaves went through not that long ago
Disappointing read.
Published 8 months ago by Stephanie


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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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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
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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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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 Grim, but fascinating, 9 Feb. 2014
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Katie (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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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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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