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Twelve Years a Slave [Kindle Edition]

Solomon Northup , Dolen Perkins-Valdez
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,178 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $3.94
Kindle Price: $0.99
You Save: $2.95 (75%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING EBOOK

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.


Editorial Reviews

Review

<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
212 of 219 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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160 of 165 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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129 of 139 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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40 of 41 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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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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33 of 36 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 Hardship but Keep stay in faithful
I rent movie from Netflix and it is good movie but kind of long. So I decided to buy a book and it is amazing story, heart wretch to continue reading, drive you crazy like you... Read more
Published 12 hours ago by Laura J. Urrutia
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't like it
Hard to follow. Not a smooth read.
Published 20 hours ago by Jim A Pinegar
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Surprised that a Black man could write so well in the mid-19th century. Surprised that he provided detailed descriptions of how cotton and sugarcane were cultivated, harvested and... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Corine
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen to Northup; he has a lot to say, and is worth listening to.
Good read, and an intimate, true picture of the agonies of slavery. Haven't seen the movie, but plan to. Would make a fine choice for a discussion afterwards. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Kayakeruth
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Somewhat overly descripty
Published 1 day ago by Janice K. Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed this book from beginning to end. A great historical read.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars This book was good but a little hard to follow at times
This book was good but a little hard to follow at times. I got a little lost in the other characters, trying to remember who was who and what their background was. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Gloria Sheehan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 1 day ago by Shaimond Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and extremely well written.
Published 2 days ago by James Bickley
5.0 out of 5 stars ... man - lots of close History but feel so horrible that it happened...
Story began (when he became a slave) happened within 10 miles of where I lived - later moved to the town with the Courthouse where he became a free man - lots of close History but... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Wanda Rabalais
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