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12 Years a Slave Paperback – February 21, 2014
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"A moving, vital testament." --Saturday Review
From the Back Cover
This story of the abduction of a free Negro adult from the North and his enslavement in the South--provides a sensational element which cannot be matched in any of the dozens of narratives written by former slaves. 'Think of it: For thirty years a man, wit all 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.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. One other oddity worth mentioning: the original book's preface -- the one done by the man who helped Northup write the book -- has been curiously excised from this version too. That makes this version something less than complete.
For those looking for a better version, you might consider Twelve Years a Slave - Enhanced Edition by Dr. Sue Eakin Based on a Lifetime Project. New Info, Images, Maps, which contains a robust amount of supporting material and, better still, is right now the same cost as this version.
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.
As most people know, this is the story of Solomon Northup, a free man of color, living in the North during slavery. Solomon is tricked, drugged and sold into slavery. His pleas of being wrongfully enslaved are met with a beating so severe that he keeps his true identity a secret from that point on. For the next twelve years, he’s sold to several ruthless, vicious and despicable slave owners. He’s beaten and mistreated mercilessly, yet he never gives up hope of finally proving who he really is.
This story is absolutely heartbreaking and difficult to read, yet it’s a story that must be told and should be read by everyone. Few could deny that slavery is among the most shameful acts perpetrated by one culture of people upon another. Reading a first-hand account of the atrocities of slavery details a much more compelling depiction than could ever be found in any history book.
Sadly, Solomon’s story isn’t unique, as there were many free people of color who had been sold into slavery by opportunists looking to make money at that time. Yet, his account of his twelve long and torturous years as a slave is a gripping and dramatic journey, as engaging as any novel. I highly recommended reading this book.