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Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics) Paperback – 6 Feb 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 964 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics)
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  • Uncle Tom's Cabin (Wordsworth Classics)
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  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions)
Total price: £7.48
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007580428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007580422
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (964 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘The most remarkable book ever issued from the American press.’ Detroit Tribune

‘For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup's tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement.’ Ira Berlin

From the Back Cover

This story of the abduction of a free Negro adult from the North and his enslavement in the South--provides a sensational element which cannot be matched in any of the dozens of narratives written by former slaves. 'Think of it: For thirty years a man, wit all man's hopes, fears and aspirations--with a wife and children to call him by the endearing names of husband and father--with a home, humble it may be, but still a home...then for twelve years a thing, a chattel personal, classed with mules and horses....Oh! it is horrible. It chills the blood to think that such are.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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