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Paperback Twelve Years a Slave Book

ISBN: 1631680021

ISBN13: 9781631680021

Twelve Years a Slave

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This unforgettable memoir was the basis for the Academy Award nominated film 12 Years a Slave. This is the true story of Solomon Northup, who was born and raised as a freeman in New York. He lived the American dream, with a house and a loving family - a wife and two kids. Then one day he was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in the deep south. These are the true accounts of his twelve hard years as a slave - many believe this memoir is even...

Customer Reviews

9 ratings

Just ok

Was expecting a more engaging narrative

Don't Think About Reading this Book Just Do It!!!

This book should be given to every child in High School!!! An amazing book!!!

Everyone Should Read This

I am a high school student, and at first this was hard reading due to the rather formal diction. But once I familiarized with the writing style, I just could not put in down! The excellent quality of this book should forever silence all those who insist on Negroes having less intellectual capacity than Americans. Northup does not have to describe and explain the evils of slavery; he depicts it in such a personal and straightforward fashion, it makes one feel that they are present, witnessing the injustice and cruelty in first person. Northup is not self-centered in this commentary of the twelve years he was held in bondage. He devotes much time and attention to telling the heartrending tales of his fellow slaves. Perhaps most pitiful is the young woman Pastsey, who became the innocent victim of her masters lust and immoral conduct, and the wrath and jealousy of the mistress. To anyone who holds such inhuman and unChristian views, this book will convince you of the humanity of all races and people. Truly God has made of one blood all nations of men!

Extremely well written, insightful. Page turner needless to say

An Incredibly Revealing Narrative

This book presents its readers with a first-hand account of not only the cruelties of United States slavery itself, but more importantly it touches upon the ways in which other areas of social life were negatively influenced by the institution. Solomon Northup was a black man who was born a free black man in New York in 1808. In 1841, Northup was kidnapped in Boston and take to the south to be sold as a slave. He spent the next 12 years as a slave, and this book was written after he was rescued in 1853. Many people have associated this book with "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ever since the former was published. While the story line is not exactly the same, there are a lot of similarities. Most notably, both books have evil Northerners and benevolent Southerners, a feature that I think is too often overlooked. This adds credibility to Northup's account, insofar as he does not simply condemn all Southerners. Other themes, such as the break-up of slave families, the harsh treatment of slaves (especially female slaves who had the misfortune of handsomeness), and camaraderie between slaves also reflect those written about in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". In the past the credibility of Northup's work had been in question, especially since a newspaper worker helped him write his account. However, in light of the vast number of particular details the Northup provides and the extent to which those details match up with other records, historians generally view this work as an authentic and truthful account of a free man sold into slavery. This is an incredible read, and the fact that it is a real account makes it even more fascinating. This book should be required reading for high school or college American history classes that cover the Civil War era.

Awesome book!

A compelling and wrenchingly honest first-hand account of slavery, many times breaking my heart and making me think of the children of Africa today. A new book, "The Last Witness From a Dirt Road" which takes place in 1946, was given to me after commenting about Solomon Northup's narrative, and it could almost be a sequel to Twelve Years a Slave, written a 100 years later by the son of an overseer on a plantation along the banks of Bayou Bouef in the same location in Louisiana. Old social and economic orders seemed little changed from 1841 to 1946, tragic, heart rendering but both books are riveting and honest, are timely and universal.

Hope Born Out of Despair

Solomon Northup's slave narrative follows in the line of scores of other enlightening first-hand accounts of African American enslavement. What makes Northrup's account so unique is the fact that he was free when kidnapped and enslaved. His harrowing description of his kidnapping in Washington, D. C., and of his fellow kidnappees, will melt the hardest heart. Yet, his interactions with other abducted African Americans also portrays the beauty and power of shared sorrow. Another fascinating distinction found in "Twelve Years a Slave" is Northrup's almost uncanny ability to fairly depict his slave owners. In some cases, he ruthlessly exposes the one-dimensional ruthlessness of cruel masters. Yet, in one case, with his owner Pastor Ford (yes, Pastor), he calls Ford one of the most godly, caring, Christians he has ever known. He describes the biblical preaching and personal ministry that Ford provided to him. It is difficult for us today to see how the hypocrisy of a slave-owning Pastor could occur. But for Northrup, an intelligent, educated, articulate man, who could be blistering in his verbal attack on slavers, Ford was not a one-dimensional man. He was flawed, yet could still display admirable attributes. "Twelve Years a Slave" is perhaps the most important first-hand account of enslavement ever written. The end of the story, which I will not ruin, must be read. Of course, with riveting writing like this, only the rare reader would dare stop before the end of the journey. Reviwer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Soul Physicians, and Spiritual Friends.

An Excellent Historical Narrative Everyone Should Read

In an age when most history that is presented to the masses is whitewashed or made politically correct it is quite refreshing to read a historical narrative "warts and all" about a period in American History that many want to forget about or gloss over.Solomon Northup was an educated, free black man from upstate New York with a wife and children in the 1841 when through a chain of events ended up being kidnapped and sold into slavery. He eventually ended up deep in Louisiana and spent the next 12 years of his life there until he was rescued by a prominent citizen of his home state that knew him.What stands out in this book to me are the descriptions of the various people he met and how they treated him from being very kind and gracious to vile and wicked. As a southerner I have often heard that slaves were basically happy and contented and this book will immediately put an end such a notion. Even the most illiterate and uneducated slave Solomon met yearned for freedom, as is human nature to do so. That being said there were several decent southern slave owners described in the book who treated their slaves well. One of them William Ford, almost certainly saved Solomon from being lynched by his new owner.On the flip side there were many vile slave owners as well. Solomon was owned by a carpenter who mistreated him quite badly and Solomon had to fight him twice to prevent himself from being killed by his owner. After one of these fights he fled into the swamp being chased by his owner and several other slave owners with their bloodhounds. His description of the bloodhounds following him into the swamp and him seeing all of the snakes and alligators was quite interesting. Solomon, beside being literate was blessed with a great deal of "street" smarts and common sense. He knew how to evade the dogs when they chased him into the swamp. The aforementioned William Ford saved Solomon from the carpenter's wrath after this episode.Solomon then went on to spend the rest of his time in captivity with another brutal slave owner. This owner was drunk half the time and continually mistreated all of his slaves. Solomon's rescue came when a Canadian drifter who worked as a laborer agreed to mail a rescue note to Solomon's home town. A few months later Solomon was rescued by a prominent gentlemen from his native New York and was reunited with his family.This book was fascinating reading and moved at a rapid pace. Most of the books I read I never bother to write a review on unless I found them to be a good read and this is a good read!If you want to read about slavery as it was and not in glossed over terms or political correct terms then this book is for you. The truth what a concept!

Awesome indeed, Please Read This Book!

I read this entire book in one day. I could not put it down. I came across it while trying to learn more about my town. I was in awe after realizing that all this occured some 15 miles from where I now live. I believe this book would make an excellent movie. The way this free black man was taken and sold into salvery is so sad and if I had not been looking into old new paper articles around the area I would have not believed this story. SO many people want to forget about the history of black people but they shouldn't. I don't think anyone can walk away after reading this book and not feel some sort of compassion for the all the souls lost to slavery.

Twelve Years a Slave Mentions in Our Blog

Twelve Years a Slave in Your 2023 Oscars Reading List
Your 2023 Oscars Reading List
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 09, 2023

Are you excited for the Oscars next month? If so, you might want to catch up on the literature that served as inspiration for some of the nominated movies. Plus, check out a few of our favorite book-to-screen best picture winners from the last quarter century.

Twelve Years a Slave in The Role Books Played for 6 of The Biggest Stars of 2018
The Role Books Played for 6 of The Biggest Stars of 2018
Published by Beth Clark • December 31, 2018

Instead of doing a typical "year in review" post like everyone else, we thought it would be fun to close the door on 2018 from a different angle: by looking back at the books that played roles in the careers of the year's biggest stars. Everybody has to start somewhere, but with hard work and a few lucky literary breaks, these household names didn't stop there.

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