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Twelve Years a Slave: (An African American Heritage Book) [Paperback]

Solomon Northup
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,010 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 24, 2008 160459215X 978-1604592153 0
Here is the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York. He was kidnaped by unscrupulous slave hunters and sold into slavery where he, endured unimaginable degradation and abuse until his rescue twelve years later. A powerful and riveting condemnation of American slavery.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

<DIV>"A moving, vital testament." - --Saturday Review</div> --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Solomon Northup (1808 - c. 1864-1875) was an African American carpenter who was born free in Minerva, Essex County, New York, but was bound into slavery later in life for a period of twelve years. He regained his freedom in January 1853. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Wilder Publications (November 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160459215X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604592153
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,010 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
205 of 212 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Shall Set You Free of Lies 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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152 of 156 people found the following review helpful
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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128 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome indeed, Please Read This Book! July 3, 2000
By A Customer
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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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A painful, enraging read in American and Louisiana history September 18, 2001
By Haiyu
Format:Paperback
This is the story of Solomon Northup, in his own words, a citizen of New York kidnapped in 1841 and taken to Louisiana as a slave, where he was found twelve years later on a cotton plantation near the Red River. It is a story that will break your heart as Solomon was torn away from his family for over a decade. According to a quote from 1853, when Solomon first published his memoirs, "Think of it: For thirty years a man, with all a 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." And indeed, this story will both chill--and boil--your blood.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Northup's book is GREAT; but this is a shoddy edition December 3, 2013
By JC 519
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book itself is great -- absolutely wonderful. But I see that all sorts of folks have rushed it into print in the last month or two, to cash in on the film (which is also great) - This edition is quite cheap and shabby; it doesn't even include page numbers. I'd recommend one of the other editions (although some of them are probably also shabby... but at least look for one from a reputable publisher. And really: the book itself should be considered a classic. It's beautifully written, and powerful in its descriptions and insights.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope Born Out of Despair January 20, 2007
Format:Paperback
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing narrative for its time
Who needs to see the movie when you can read the book!!! An amazing narrative for its time.
Published 2 minutes ago by Lisa OKeefe
5.0 out of 5 stars The most compelling book I've read. This should be ...
The most compelling book I've read. This should be on every American's reading list. You may think you know about slavery but Northrupp brings you inside in a very personal and... Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Tmac
5.0 out of 5 stars INHUMANE CONDITIONS OF SLAVERY.
GOOD READ, VERRY INFORMATIVE ABOUT THE INHUMAN CONDITIONS OFSLAVERY.SOLOM0N NORTHUP TOLD HIS STORY THOROUGHLY.
Published 1 day ago by HELEN KELLY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 1 day ago by erica Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Speechless.
Published 1 day ago by Paula Katzer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bleak recounting of our worst period in history
A Bleak recounting of our worst period in history. Told in diary form by Solomon, who had been a free man in the north before being drugged and kidnapped into slave trade. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Nancy W. Rossman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great read, it was so vivid I could identify places and put myself in that era
Published 2 days ago by f
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible story
I found the writer to be extremely generous in regards to the slave holders. his intelligence allowed him to form very objective opinions of the practice of slavery. Read more
Published 2 days ago by DAVID DOMKE
5.0 out of 5 stars told by an amazingly intelligent man. He also shows a wonderful sense...
This is an incredible story, told by an amazingly intelligent man. He also shows a wonderful sense of forgiveness for white society -- truly remarkable in light of the treatment he... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Frederick H Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 Years a Slave is an excellent book. I saw the movie and decided to...
12 Years a Slave is an excellent book. I saw the movie and decided to read the book for more detail. Truly enjoyed the book and would recommend others to purchase it.
Published 2 days ago by Carolyn Snowden
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