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12 Years a Slave Paperback – September 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Community Press (September 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492368288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492368281
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,665 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


A moving, vital testament to one of slavery s many thousands gone who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation. It is also a chilling insight into the peculiar institution. Saturday Review
--Online

About the Author

Solomon Northup (1808–c. 1863) was a free man kidnapped into slavery in 1851. The details of his life after the publication of his acclaimed memoir are unknown.

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Customer Reviews

I saw the movie, then read the book.
Christine Carr
This is a well written book both from the personal story and historical representation points of view.
jim
The book tells the true story of Solomon Northup from his viewpoint.
Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

364 of 376 people found the following review helpful By JManInPhoenix on July 20, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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192 of 198 people found the following review helpful By M. on October 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Growing up in the North,I had always found it hard to imagine that slavery not only existed in this country,but flourished.Through the years,I have read many an autobiography or history book concerning slavery and thought I knew it all. And yet I was blind.
Until I read Solomon Northrup's "12 Years a Slave." Where has this book been? It is a masterpiece of history,of one man,one free man's life. A true picture of 'The Old South'.
Mr. Northrup was a free black man with a beautiful wife and two daughters living in Saratoga,NY. He was lured from his home by slave traders who specialized in the awful practice of kidnapping free black citizens and selling them into slavery. Torn from his home and family,Mr.Northrup endured the worst that can happen to a human being,and still live.
And yet,he remained fair and honest,never stooping to the level some of his white masters did.
I am not going to rewrite the book in this review because I recommend reading it for yourself. Slavery was and is a vile institution.
Solomon Northrup is my new inspiration.
This book will shock you. But you will be the better for having read it.
My highest of fives.
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143 of 147 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnston on October 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As slave stories go, this one is, in my view, without peer. Northup's s captivating tale -- which has gained attention because of the movie that shares the book's title -- is told in exacting detail with an easy prose. He sets the stage masterfully, describing people and places before proceeding into the narrative. Unlike works of fiction, this book is so compelling because, by all accounts, it is true. There is no polemical axe to grind, as with Uncle Tom (a novel at one point wryly referenced by Northup). Here you see both the brutality of slavery and the moments of kindness by slaves and even some slave owners. Solomon tells the story with clarity and intelligence.

The free versions on other sites I found were pretty poorly formatted, so spending a dollar for a polished version on Amazon is worthwhile, but this one is not the best of them. Granted, the book is formatted adequately, and any typographical errors in this version seem to be simple reproductions of the original.

However, the supporting material is a letdown. I read the version that includes the introduction by novelist Dolen Perkins-Valdez. That introduction is borderline insulting, as it makes only a weak attempt to separate accounts with fictional elements like Roots from an authentic account like this one. Worse still, Perkins-Valdez can't resist indulging in repeatedly referencing her own recently released slave novel, even going so far as to quote herself. There are almost no historical elements to this version beyond the main book -- no mention of Northup after the book, no mention of he writer who helped him pen the book, nothing. There is more information on the writer of the introduction than there is the author.
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125 of 134 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
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