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Twelve Years a Slave [Kindle Edition]

Solomon Northup , Dolen Perkins-Valdez
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,675 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $4.49
Kindle Price: $0.99
You Save: $3.50 (78%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description


The story that inspired the major motion picture produced by Brad Pitt, directed by Steve McQueen, and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery. This beautifully designed ebook edition of Twelve Years a Slave features an introduction by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, the bestselling author of Wench.

Solomon Northup was an entrepreneur and dedicated family man, father to three young children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. What little free time he had after long days of manual and farm labor, he spent reading books and playing the violin. Though his father was born into slavery, Solomon was born and lived free.

In March 1841, two strangers approached Northup, offering him employment as a violinist in a town hundreds of miles away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York. Solomon bid his wife farewell until his return. Only after he was drugged and bound, did he realize the strangers were kidnappers—that nefarious brand of criminals in the business of capturing runaway and free blacks for profit. Thus began Northup's life as a slave. Dehumanized, beaten, and worked mercilessly, Northup suffered all the more wondering what had become of his family. One owner was savagely cruel and Northup recalls he was "indebted to him for nothing, save undeserved abuse." Just as he felt the summer of his life fade and all hope nearly lost, he met a kind-hearted stranger who changed the course of his life. With its first-hand account of this country's Peculiar Institution, this is a book no one interested in American history can afford to miss.

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Editorial Reviews


<DIV>"A moving, vital testament." - --Saturday Review</div>

About the Author

Solomon Northup (1808--c.1864-75) was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, NY, who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841. After his escape, he became an abolitionist and published his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave (1853). He gave many lectures in support of the abolitionist causes and aided in the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez, PhD, is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Wench. In 2011, she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was also awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Dr. Perkins-Valdez teaches in the Stonecoast (Maine) MFA program and lives in Washington, DC, with her family.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
365 of 377 people found the following review helpful
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Shall Set You Free of Lies October 17, 2013
By M.
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
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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126 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome indeed, Please Read This Book! July 3, 2000
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written
A beautiful narrative, easy to read,it moves though the years leaving you with a complete understanding of what he and others suffered through. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by deborah a castellanos
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book.
Learning about slavery in school doesn't begin to open the eyes to what really happened in the America of the early days. I wept as I read of his treatment. Read more
Published 7 hours ago by E. Roffey
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-read of American culture
It's easy to gloss over the horrors of slavery, but what could be more true than a firsthand account like this? Very descriptive. Now I want to see the movie.
Published 12 hours ago by Susan Payton
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 Years a Slave
I read the book first and then watched the DVD, the book was so rich in details and the back story that were not shown in the movie. A sad story about a dark time in our history. Read more
Published 12 hours ago by Priscilla A Hewitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Original version of twelve years a slave
The book is written in Solomon's voice and is at times difficult to read. He does not spare the violence but I was most surprised at his charity toward various owners and also the... Read more
Published 18 hours ago by lois
5.0 out of 5 stars And The Oscar When To.......
I don't go to the movies because most of them is not worth the money, but 12 Years a Slave was not only worth see in the theater but when it came out on DVD, I knew I had to add it... Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Doreen E Locario
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling!
Everyone should read this. It will open your eyes to the inhumane treatment of other humans! Wouldn't recommend it for bedtime reading!
Published 19 hours ago by Audry Terpstra
4.0 out of 5 stars Twelve Years as a Slave
Eloquently and yet also descriptively written. Author gets into the self image slavery created and the sheer cruelty of kidnappers of "free men". Read more
Published 22 hours ago by luvgrdane
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional
Emotional insight to the injustices suffered by so many. Highly recommend to anyone interested in learning about the horrors of slavery and their story.
Published 1 day ago by Debra A. Kimmey
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery-the truth
I loved this book because it showed us what slavery was all about, the horrible-brutal agony they experienced. Hope that one day slavery will be gone for good universally.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
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