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Twelve Years a Slave Paperback – August 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492137049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492137047
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

<div> For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup s tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement. Ira Berlin, from the Introduction

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</div>
--Online

About the Author

<DIV>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.</div>
<div>Ira Berlin is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. His many books include The Making of African America and Many Thousands Gone, winner of the Bancroft Prize and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.</div>
<div>Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W. E. B Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.</div>

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Customer Reviews

Loved the book could not put it down until I was finished reading it.
linda dawson
This book is unique in that the slave was born free and kidnapped into slavery.
Ginny
The author writes in a style that fits the period in which it was written.
Rudy Maurizio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

215 of 222 people found the following review helpful By Gwennyth 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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160 of 165 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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130 of 140 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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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By JC 519 on December 3, 2013
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 By Haiyu on September 18, 2001
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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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on 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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