Twelve Years A Slave

Twelve Years A Slave

Narrative of Solomon Northup, A Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853

Book - 2013
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Describes the life of Solomon Northup, a free Black man from Saratoga, N.Y., who was kidnapped in 1841 and forced into slavery in Louisiana for twelve years.
Publisher: New York : 37 Ink/Atria, 2013.
Edition: First 37 InkAtria Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476767345
1476767343
Characteristics: xii, 300 pages ;,22 cm

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3
303dog
Sep 04, 2017

First time I've written about a book. This one read like fiction; unfortunately it was all too true. Mr. Northrup has woven the details of his slavery into such wonderful, well-paced account it reads BETTER than most fiction. I reveled in his descriptive vocabulary; there are many college graduates today who are not any where near as well-spoken as this man. What an amazing man he must have been. It is hard to believe that this book is not required reading in every school nationwide. It is also surprising that this didn't have more impact on the defeat of slavery. I don't know how widely published it was when written, but I felt it told the truth about the "peculiar institution" as some called it during that era. When something is so morally reprehensible that it has to be referenced by an alternate name, you know it needs to be stopped. I'm thankful that I live in the US, and am ashamed of this and other racially related instances in our past; thank goodness that he was convinced to share his personal history in order to enlighten future generations.

b
budugu
Oct 13, 2016

excellent this is. the narrator is very clear in expressing the pain, anger, joy etc all through the book. disgusting to read or to know that such kind of practices existed in this free country.

FindingJane May 01, 2016

Literate, articulate and excruciating in detail, Mr. Northup’s saga of enforced bondage to various white masters stands as a shining gem in the crown of black literature about this era. He outlines just how terrible his days were and how dreadful his nights, when slaves dared not oversleep no matter how fatigued they were from the day’s toils. Rarely did a day pass without a whipping, unless the slaves were under the yoke of a kind master.

Unlike Frederick Douglass’s similar account, Mr. Northup goes into painstaking detail, naming names and places, all the while showing a shrewd view of human nature. There are no good blacks and evil whites; there are decent and indecent people among them both. Whereas Mr. Douglass maintained that a white master who was religious was a particularly terrible nemesis of the slave, Mr. Northup stresses that even among the pious there were those who were gentle towards their property, who knew how to win the loves of those underneath their yoke.

If anything, Mr. Northup is quick to blame slavery—the sin rather than the sinner—under which both white and black men suffer, one that teaches young white children to practice and delight in cruelty and makes it impossible even for church-going, compassionate men to see anything other than moral rectitude in an immoral system.

It is a sobering and harrowing account of a bygone age and one that continues to leave its stain upon the current age. (If you think racism doesn’t exist in America, try listening to a white person complain that white privilege means travelling in a limo instead of on a train.)

d
dlh1
Sep 28, 2015

I was amazed at the memory of names, places, dates and events in the life of this man. Not only that, he was able to weave these snapshots into a captivating story that was hard to put down. Not many writers have this ability when using factual information. It's hard to believe that it was written well over 100 years ago. Also, it's hard to believe that many of the attitudes of human beings haven't changed in that time. There are still those that strongly believe in slavery, since it still exists in many nations of the world.

a
annanina
Sep 08, 2015

What an incredible, profound, truly moving account of the real-life tragic events! The book had been published in 1853(!) and yet, when I started reading it I couldn't put it down. The author's incredible intelligence, attention to detail, his philosophical stance - all this contributed to truly remarkable book. I watched the movie - it's good as an illustration to the book. However, the movie skipped on the last part, the escape back to freedom - how the author was helped by so many good people, and what was involved, including the court proceedings and other documents appended to the book. Actually, as I was reading the Chapter 21 and on, my heart was racing! Highly, highly recommended.

s
savtadina
Jun 27, 2015

This is an absolutely amazing story of a NY-born freeman who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep South and after 12 years managed to regain his freedom. It was published in 1853. It not only tells of the indignities that he went through but of the suffering of so many others that were treated so horrifically.

There is no way that I could have seen the movie as the horrors described in the book would have overwhelmed me. Also, the verbal written descriptions are truly worth reading.

a
AnnemarieG
Jun 20, 2015

I finally stopped reading it because the brutality was pretty distasteful. I didn't need it on EVERY page.

b
becker
Mar 25, 2015

A very interesting book. A look into the life of a slave from a first hand account.

m
mary498
Jan 04, 2015

Man's inhumanity to man will never cease to amaze, astound and sicken me. Having said that, an amazing account of one man's resilience, unending hope and faith in God during our country's darkest days.

r
readsalot80
Aug 13, 2014

Great book about a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He wrote this after he was rescued. Its hard to imagine what he went through to survive. This book should be mandatory reading in high school.

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mary498
Jan 04, 2015

An amazing account of a "free" black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Solomon was educated and after his eventual rescue, was able to write about his twelve years in captivity. Excellent narrative and true to the language and events of the time period.

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