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Twelve Years a Slave: Plus Five American Slave Narratives, Including Life of Frederick Douglass, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Life of Josiah Henson, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Up From Slavery

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TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (Plus MUCH more!) This exciting new release includes the complete text of "Twelve Years a Slave." Read the amazing story of Solomon Northup before (or after) you see the critically-acclaimed movie of 2013. But this collection doesn't stop there. It also includes: * Complete, unabridged texts of the five additional works listed below, all well-known works TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (Plus MUCH more!) This exciting new release includes the complete text of "Twelve Years a Slave." Read the amazing story of Solomon Northup before (or after) you see the critically-acclaimed movie of 2013. But this collection doesn't stop there. It also includes: * Complete, unabridged texts of the five additional works listed below, all well-known works about slavery in America * An active table of contents for easy navigation to any book or chapter * The original illustrations for "Twelve Years a Slave" * Easy-to-use links to download unabridged audiobooks of four of the works from Librivox * Well-formatted text with adjustable font and size Below is a brief introduction to the six included works. (Excerpts from Wikipedia are used in the summaries.) --Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana -- Author: Solomon Northup (July 1808 - c. 1864-1875) Published: 1853 "Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup as told to David Wilson, is a memoir of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped, sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before the American Civil War." -- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave -- Author: Frederick Douglass (February 1818 - February 20, 1895) Published: 1845 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and ex-slave, Frederick Douglass. In factual detail, the text describes the events of his life and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States." -- The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself -- Author: Josiah Henson (June 15, 1789 - May 5, 1883) Published: 1849 "The Life of Josiah Henson is a slave narrative written by Josiah Henson, who would later become famous for being the basis of the character of Tom from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. " -- Uncle Tom's Cabin -- Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 - July 1, 1896) Published: 1852 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe...Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible." -- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl -- Author: Harriett Ann Jacobs, under the pen name Linda Brent (February 11, 1813 - March 7, 1897) Published: 1861 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative that was published in 1861 by Harriet Ann Jacobs, using the pen name "Linda Brent." It addresses the struggles and sexual abuse that young women slaves faced on the plantations, and how these struggles were harsher than what men suffered as slaves." -- Up From Slavery -- Author: Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915) Published: 1901 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T.


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TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (Plus MUCH more!) This exciting new release includes the complete text of "Twelve Years a Slave." Read the amazing story of Solomon Northup before (or after) you see the critically-acclaimed movie of 2013. But this collection doesn't stop there. It also includes: * Complete, unabridged texts of the five additional works listed below, all well-known works TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (Plus MUCH more!) This exciting new release includes the complete text of "Twelve Years a Slave." Read the amazing story of Solomon Northup before (or after) you see the critically-acclaimed movie of 2013. But this collection doesn't stop there. It also includes: * Complete, unabridged texts of the five additional works listed below, all well-known works about slavery in America * An active table of contents for easy navigation to any book or chapter * The original illustrations for "Twelve Years a Slave" * Easy-to-use links to download unabridged audiobooks of four of the works from Librivox * Well-formatted text with adjustable font and size Below is a brief introduction to the six included works. (Excerpts from Wikipedia are used in the summaries.) --Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana -- Author: Solomon Northup (July 1808 - c. 1864-1875) Published: 1853 "Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup as told to David Wilson, is a memoir of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped, sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before the American Civil War." -- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave -- Author: Frederick Douglass (February 1818 - February 20, 1895) Published: 1845 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by famous orator and ex-slave, Frederick Douglass. In factual detail, the text describes the events of his life and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States." -- The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself -- Author: Josiah Henson (June 15, 1789 - May 5, 1883) Published: 1849 "The Life of Josiah Henson is a slave narrative written by Josiah Henson, who would later become famous for being the basis of the character of Tom from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. " -- Uncle Tom's Cabin -- Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 - July 1, 1896) Published: 1852 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe...Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible." -- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl -- Author: Harriett Ann Jacobs, under the pen name Linda Brent (February 11, 1813 - March 7, 1897) Published: 1861 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative that was published in 1861 by Harriet Ann Jacobs, using the pen name "Linda Brent." It addresses the struggles and sexual abuse that young women slaves faced on the plantations, and how these struggles were harsher than what men suffered as slaves." -- Up From Slavery -- Author: Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915) Published: 1901 Audiobook available from Librivox, link included "Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T.

30 review for Twelve Years a Slave: Plus Five American Slave Narratives, Including Life of Frederick Douglass, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Life of Josiah Henson, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Up From Slavery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    This book should be required reading for every American History class. There are so few first-hand accounts of slavery, this is a gem, particularly because he knew freedom before he was forced into slavery. It wasn't very graphic, I think because of the time - mid-1800s, before spill-all accounts became the norm. What struck me was how he emphasized that every slave, no matter their station, their knowledge of the world, or their opportunity, longed for freedom. They knew what it was, even This book should be required reading for every American History class. There are so few first-hand accounts of slavery, this is a gem, particularly because he knew freedom before he was forced into slavery. It wasn't very graphic, I think because of the time - mid-1800s, before spill-all accounts became the norm. What struck me was how he emphasized that every slave, no matter their station, their knowledge of the world, or their opportunity, longed for freedom. They knew what it was, even having been born a slave, and would have chosen it over slavery given any opportunity. He described abhorrent living conditions, albeit in a measured, not overly descriptive manner: he was given a bare subsistence-level amount of food, was worked from dawn till 10pm or midnight each day, and was given constant lashings for arbitrary reasons. Or sometimes the slaves would have to dance when the master commanded, sometimes till dawn, and then were expected to work the full day into the night. It was also inspiring, the people and events that conspired together to free him: the Canadian carpenter who vowed on his life to get Solomon freed, the New York attorney/neighbor who went to great lengths to retrieve Soloman from Louisiana, or Soloman's son who was working and saving money to buy his dad's freedom. I grew up in the South, and remember American History in elementary, middle, and high school touching on slavery, but more glossing over it. Some teachers said the Civil War was about slavery, some said it was not. My mom attended school in a segregated Alabama school in the 50s and 60s, and they were taught that slaves were well treated, provided for, and many preferred remaining slaves. Reading this book shows how white America omits a major, terrible part of our past, a part that should receive more attention than at present.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sheila DeChantal

    12 Years A Slave was a powerful listen. Narrated by Louis Gossett, in a smooth tone that made you feel that he really was Solomon Northup, retelling his days and months and years with all of his rights as a free man stripped from him. What makes this book all the more breathtaking is that it is non fiction. Solomon shares with his readers the good, the bad, and the extreme ugliness of man during this time period. I found my heart heavy as I can not wrap my mind around what it had to have been 12 Years A Slave was a powerful listen. Narrated by Louis Gossett, in a smooth tone that made you feel that he really was Solomon Northup, retelling his days and months and years with all of his rights as a free man stripped from him. What makes this book all the more breathtaking is that it is non fiction. Solomon shares with his readers the good, the bad, and the extreme ugliness of man during this time period. I found my heart heavy as I can not wrap my mind around what it had to have been like for Solomon during this time of loss of family, and loss of hope of ever seeing them again. 12 Years A Slave is a remarkable story. I am looking forward to seeing the movie.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sam toer

    12 Years a Slave, subtitled Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, From a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana, tells the story of Solomon Northup, an African-American freeman who, in 1841, was snatched off the streets of Washington, and sold into slavery. Thereafter, he was passed from master to master, ending up in the plantation of the brutish drunk Edwin Epps . After 12 years, he was saved by the help of “12 Years a Slave”, subtitled “Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, From a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana”, tells the story of Solomon Northup, an African-American freeman who, in 1841, was snatched off the streets of Washington, and sold into slavery. Thereafter, he was passed from master to master, ending up in the plantation of the brutish drunk Edwin Epps . After 12 years, he was saved by the help of his friends up North tipped by a Canadian abolitionist. While the story is about Solomon as an individual, it represents an entire subjugated people and, by extension, the peculiar institution of slavery, as well as the American past. Unlike most of the enslaved people whose fate he shared for a dozen years, Solomon Northup was born into freedom. He was literate. That made him an exceptional historical witness, because even while he was trapped inside the institution of slavery — physically, psychologically, emotionally — part of him remained intellectually and culturally at a remove, which gives his book a powerful double perspective. In Northup’s memoir, which was published a year after “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and eight years before the Civil War, he interrupts an account of his own near-lynching to comment on the man largely to blame for the noose around his neck. “But whatever motive may have governed the cowardly and malignant tyrant,” he writes, “it is of no importance.” It doesn’t matter why Northup was strung up in a tree like a dead deer in the summer sun, bathed in sweat, with little water to drink. What matters is what has often been missing among the economic, social and cultural explanations of American slavery and in many of its representations: human suffering. He writes: “My wrists and ankles, and the cords of my legs and arms began to swell, burying the rope that bound them into the swollen flesh." The book was made into a movie by British director Steve McQueen in 2013. It won the Oscar for best picture, best actor and best supporting actress. The movie exposes American slavery in image after image of cruelty, sometimes in heart wrenching and hard to watch scenes , like the flayed backs of slaves, revealing it as one of the most brutal systems the world has ever known and demolishes the myths portrayed for so long in racist trash like Gone with the Wind. There are no “moonlight and magnolias” here. Nor are there happy "childlike" slaves devoted to their masters. The glamorous society of genteel mannered paternalistic gentry, that Margaret Mitchell described didn't exist. The lives of slaves meant backbreaking work from dawn to dusk; a slave’s child or spouse could be sold at any time; hunger was ever-present. The antebellum South was a totalitarian police state ever in fear of slave uprisings.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grete

    This book is well worth reading. Solomon Northup's biography is not just about his own personal suffering, which is truely terrible, but also about the mindset that sustained slavery in the southern states for so long. The economic dependency of the sugar cane and cotton industries upon slave labour and consequent dehumanisation and exploitation of slaves without which estate owners would never have survived the South. The film faithfully captures the sentiments of the book and also well worth This book is well worth reading. Solomon Northup's biography is not just about his own personal suffering, which is truely terrible, but also about the mindset that sustained slavery in the southern states for so long. The economic dependency of the sugar cane and cotton industries upon slave labour and consequent dehumanisation and exploitation of slaves without which estate owners would never have survived the South. The film faithfully captures the sentiments of the book and also well worth seeing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    My rating is an average of the ratings of each individual component of this collection rounded up. My overall review would be to go ahead and download this since it is free and some of the works within are must reads. The breakdown: Twelve Years a Slave 5 stars This is the most well written slave narrative I've ever read. It's a pity Mr. Northup never had a literary calling beyond sharing his experience for the cause of abolition. He is not only insightful but also has that gift of making the My rating is an average of the ratings of each individual component of this collection rounded up. My overall review would be to go ahead and download this since it is free and some of the works within are must reads. The breakdown: Twelve Years a Slave 5 stars This is the most well written slave narrative I've ever read. It's a pity Mr. Northup never had a literary calling beyond sharing his experience for the cause of abolition. He is not only insightful but also has that gift of making the reader genuinely feel the experience behind his words. Were I to compile a list of "must-read" slave narratives, this would top the list. Not only for its quality, but also for the fact that it shows slavery from the perspective of a man born free and kidnapped into it. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 5 stars Doubtless the most well known of the slave narratives. If a person has read only one, it is usually this one and with good reason. While I find Mr. Northrup's tale far better as a piece of literature, Mr. Douglass' shows a broader range and deeper insight into the institution of slavery than any other work I've read. The Life of Josiah Henson 4 stars While not necessarily the most well written of the narratives, Mr. Henson's story offers a unique perspective for a couple of reasons. First, this is the individual upon whom Uncle Tom's Cabin was based. Why read a white woman's fictionalized account when the black person's actual account is perfectly available to you? Especially since Uncle Tom's Cabin is a horrible book, which I will get into in more detail later. Second, Mr. Henson exhibits an unusual level of empathy to the special plight of the black woman in slavery. Not something that one sees as often as they should. Uncle Tom's Cabin 1 star You can see my full review here. TL;DR This book is miserable. It's poorly written, so didactic as to read like a sermon for half the book (a badly written sermon), and the dialog wavers between strongly unlikely and appallingly bad. The useful information in it regarding the conditions of slavery can readily be obtained elsewhere (see every other work included in this collection along with the 199 other narratives) and is a bit watered down. It's only possible unique use is to reveal exactly how racist abolitionists could be. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl 4 stars As previously mentioned, there's not so much out there that reveals the special atrocities that black women suffered under slavery. This is well worth your time for that reason alone. Up from Slavery 3 stars Booker T. Washington was an impressive man but also a troubling one. He was a bit of a white apologist. Don't get me wrong, he's amazing, but he could have stood to be a bit more compassionate towards his own race and less so towards mine. This is the one work that I didn't really feel fit this collection at all. It's not particularly useful in learning about slavery or the life of the average black person after slavery. It's great if you want to know more about him and his philosophy but not so much anything else. You can see my complete review of this specific work here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pat Elliott

    How to rate a book such as this, takes some thinking. I cannot rate it as enjoyable, because the suffering it details is not enjoyable. Amazing as in astonishing is a better rating. The kidnapping and being sold into slavery is harrowing. The appalling treatment is harrowing. This history is important, because it serves to remind us both of the cruelty meted out to slaves, and of the humanity of those who fought to conquer it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Liara ( I read dead people)

    With a necessary dose of reality, the autobiography 12 Years of Slavery promises to thrill and shock readers worldwide. The book that gave rise to the eponymous film is full of strong emotions and portrays perfectly the appalling experiences lived by author Solomon Northup during the period in which he was forced to undergo a life of slavery. "Having been born a free man and enjoyed for over thirty years, the blessings of liberty in a free state and at the end of that period and abducted and sold With a necessary dose of reality, the autobiography 12 Years of Slavery promises to thrill and shock readers worldwide. The book that gave rise to the eponymous film is full of strong emotions and portrays perfectly the appalling experiences lived by author Solomon Northup during the period in which he was forced to undergo a life of slavery. "Having been born a free man and enjoyed for over thirty years, the blessings of liberty in a free state and at the end of that period and abducted and sold into slavery - condition in which stayed until, unfortunately, rescued in January 1853, after twelve years of servitude - was suggested to me that an account of my life and chances that scored could not fail to attract the interest of the public. " It is an autobiography, so the author is the main character narrating his life in first person. Solomon describes in a beautiful way all the ups and downs of his life as a slave, thrilling through words. He not only describes his own life, but also the little that he can spot of the lives of those who crossed his path, showing all the compassion he felt the secondary character(or, in the case of some,the compassion he didn't). The writing that was presented to me in the book can be defined, at least , as an extremely brilliant and intricately elaborate writing. The vocabulary that Solomon uses to tell his story is very rich,contrasting with the heavy atmosphere of the setting.It shouldn't work so well but it did. In this section I have to congratulate the publisher for the great work of translation and revision, I've experienced the book in English as well and I can say with certainty in my words that Seoman managed to bring the work in a immaculate state for Brazilian and Portuguese readers. "My goal is to provide truthful testimony about the facts:. Retell the story of my life, without exaggeration, leaving to others the task of deciding whether same pages contain more stringent or misleading descriptions of slavery" The book was able to make me feel excruciating pain and pity me Solomon. Yes, it is an extremely painful and distressing reading, those that make you root for the good of the "character" impaired and want to shred with nails to those who are hurting him. A brilliant book as 12 Years of Slavery deserves to be read calmly, reading should be sipped slowly. It is not one of those books you sit and read at once, you should enjoy every moment, absorbing every information to the end completely understand what Solomon wanted to move to share your story with the world. "I could not understand the justice of a law or a religion that would support or recognize the principle of slavery" With no doubt I point out this book to all readers,specially my fellow historical fiction enthusiasts.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ami Sahl Nicholson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was recommended to me by an American History professor. It is wonderfully written and haunting, and I think that it should be required reading for American history classes. It is one thing to read about slavery in the textbooks, and it is quite another to read a first-hand account of what it was like to be a slave in Louisiana in the 1850's. Parts of this novel were completely overwhelming. It is hard to picture a mother being forced to part with her children as they were sold into This book was recommended to me by an American History professor. It is wonderfully written and haunting, and I think that it should be required reading for American history classes. It is one thing to read about slavery in the textbooks, and it is quite another to read a first-hand account of what it was like to be a slave in Louisiana in the 1850's. Parts of this novel were completely overwhelming. It is hard to picture a mother being forced to part with her children as they were sold into slavery. The violence, lack of nutrition, and expected production output of the slaves was also appalling. It shocked me that being an abolitionist was perceived as "eccentric", and that this standard was the norm of the times. Northrup's description of how the view of slavery was passed from generation to generation, and boys as young as twelve were encouraged to "hold the whip", was tough to read. I loved Northrup's choice of words, and the idea that he held so many talents that served him well throughout his life. There is a beauty in his choice to remain faithful during his captivity, even if it was out of fear. He held fast to the idea that who he was would free him, and he maintained his faith and character in the face of his many hardships.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Nightingale

    After seeing the movie I wanted to read the book. That said, I did it with much trepidation. I didn't want to be disappointed if the book was done exactly like the movie. What the movie, failed, I feel, in their rendition was how educated and well spoken Solomon Northup was. His elegant style reflected on each and every page. He did not transgress into how brutal the overseers and plantation owners were but the reader was informed and enlighten to how conditions were. As he stated at the end of After seeing the movie I wanted to read the book. That said, I did it with much trepidation. I didn't want to be disappointed if the book was done exactly like the movie. What the movie, failed, I feel, in their rendition was how educated and well spoken Solomon Northup was. His elegant style reflected on each and every page. He did not transgress into how brutal the overseers and plantation owners were but the reader was informed and enlighten to how conditions were. As he stated at the end of the book, he did not know how slavery worked everywhere, he was only telling his story and his reality in New Oreleans. I can see how and why this book is now being read in the school system -- it should be; it needs to be. It must be. One should never forget where they have been so that they can look ahead. Northup, hit the nail on the head with the usage today of -- look at the past but do not stare. Well written, concise, to the point and enlightening. I would recommend one and all to read this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kath

    Audio. A little stiff as language for the 1800's can be. But incredible descriptions of slave life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily Jameson

    I feel as if my high school AP History teacher and college American History professor failed me by not enlightening me to the existence of this book. It took Hollywood and an Oscar-nominated movie (which I have not yet seen) to clue me in. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but nothing compares with a first-hand narrative of a historical experience. This one was excellent. Twelve Years A Slave is told from the perspective of Solomon Northup; a freeborn black man living in New York, I feel as if my high school AP History teacher and college American History professor failed me by not enlightening me to the existence of this book. It took Hollywood and an Oscar-nominated movie (which I have not yet seen) to clue me in. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but nothing compares with a first-hand narrative of a historical experience. This one was excellent. Twelve Years A Slave is told from the perspective of Solomon Northup; a freeborn black man living in New York, who is tricked, captured, and sold into slavery in Louisiana. He serves under several masters over a span of 12 years, before his identity as a free man is discovered and he returns to his family. This is a narrative, not a story. As such, it reads in a very matter-of-fact non-embellished manner. Some readers may consider this a dry read. In my opinion, the straightforward tone makes the horrors of Northup's experiences stand out more starkly. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Imperative in Northup's narrative, is how dearly freedom is cherished. This is emphasized by Northup's origins as a free man, and contrasts sharply with his experiences as a slave. I came away with a deeper understanding of the appalling nature of slavery, and a better appreciation for my own freedoms. This is what I consider an important read. It chronicles, in detail, a pivotal point in our country's history. It instills a sense of gratitude in the reader for all of the freedoms enjoyed as a citizen of the United States, which are often taken for granted. I am glad I read this book, and am inspired to seek out more first-hand narratives of the slave experience.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I was incredibly moved by this book--a first person account written in 1850 about what it was really like to be a slave. The author, Simon Northup, describes heinous acts of cruelty in a matter-of-fact manner, which somehow gives the book even more power. He is quick to give credit to the few "nice" slave-owners he encountered, but makes it clear that every slave desired to be free, regardless of how he or she was treated. Although I certainly knew that slaves got whipped, I had no idea how I was incredibly moved by this book--a first person account written in 1850 about what it was really like to be a slave. The author, Simon Northup, describes heinous acts of cruelty in a matter-of-fact manner, which somehow gives the book even more power. He is quick to give credit to the few "nice" slave-owners he encountered, but makes it clear that every slave desired to be free, regardless of how he or she was treated. Although I certainly knew that slaves got whipped, I had no idea how frequently and severely they were beaten--sometimes to the point of death. They had to work from dawn to dusk and often in the full moon with only some bacon and ground corn as their daily diet. Northup was ahead of his time (and amazingly objective considering his own suffering) in figuring out that it was not the individual slave-owners and overseers who were at fault for their own brutality--it was the institution of slavery. Like Dr. Philip Zimbardo (author of "The Lucifer Effect," he could see that when you put people in certain situations, it turns them into brutes. I'm not sure I could stand to see the movie. I had to stop listening to book from time to time because it was unbearable to hear about the torture the slaves endured. What a blight on the United States and all countries who enslaved others. I am thankful that Solomon Northup was finally freed and able to return to his family. Unfortunately, his fellow slaves suffered until the day they died.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This was a fantastic book. I'm so glad I decided to read the book instead of seeing the movie. I was hesitant to see the movie because of the graphic violence. The book has no foul language or graphic violence. It does describe what is happening to the slaves, but it does so in such a stark way, that it is powerful without being overly descriptive. Solomon Northup comes across as an educated, dignified and religious character who never loses sight of who he truly is despite the abuse that is This was a fantastic book. I'm so glad I decided to read the book instead of seeing the movie. I was hesitant to see the movie because of the graphic violence. The book has no foul language or graphic violence. It does describe what is happening to the slaves, but it does so in such a stark way, that it is powerful without being overly descriptive. Solomon Northup comes across as an educated, dignified and religious character who never loses sight of who he truly is despite the abuse that is heaped upon him. This being a true story, we aren't able to learn the fates of the other slaves that surrounded "Platt." It gives a taste of what it must be like for descendants of slaves to try and find the history of their ancestors.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nena

    I only read Twelve Years a Slave and not the other books included. Twelve Years was excellent. It was so well written that I could vividly see the scenes of which Solomon Northup wrote. This is the truest account of slavery that I have ever read. It is so disappointing that he was taken away from his family and not listened to when he stated he was free. To live those 12 years in slavery took more than courage to endure. I highly recommend this book. Also, the movie is good, but does not do this I only read Twelve Years a Slave and not the other books included. Twelve Years was excellent. It was so well written that I could vividly see the scenes of which Solomon Northup wrote. This is the truest account of slavery that I have ever read. It is so disappointing that he was taken away from his family and not listened to when he stated he was free. To live those 12 years in slavery took more than courage to endure. I highly recommend this book. Also, the movie is good, but does not do this book justice. There are so many parts of the book left out of the movie, that I would recommend reading the book first. It is a quick read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Webber

    I get God triggers when I read books like this. For a person who already is aware of too much of the ugly animal side of humans, these confirm my negative bias rather than make me aghast that human events like this have happened all through history, and they continue to happen. Kudos to the author for the bravery and courage to speak his truth in such a descriptive manner. Maybe if ALL people started opening up both eyes to the atrocities we commit to each other instead of glossing it over and I get God triggers when I read books like this. For a person who already is aware of too much of the ugly animal side of humans, these confirm my negative bias rather than make me aghast that human events like this have happened all through history, and they continue to happen. Kudos to the author for the bravery and courage to speak his truth in such a descriptive manner. Maybe if ALL people started opening up both eyes to the atrocities we commit to each other instead of glossing it over and pretending these things don't exist, we may actually begin to affect change in our world. I am a truth teller. For that reason, I give this book 4 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    La Wah

    This book is awesome!!i would recommend it to history class. The book is touching and you can feel what solomon is through. First he was a free man and stolen in to slavery. He been treated bad as a slave and he weren't allowed to say he was a free man,and he have to work until day light is gone. As he work on building a new cabin and he found a man who would let him have his freedom backs. I would tell my friends to read book because it's awesome!!.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Does not work Bought this for my African-American course because it is supposed to have several of the works we are reading. However, once downloaded it seems not to work. I cannot access any of the texts, and only see a few black and white images. I removed from kindle and downloaded again, and the same thing is happening. Disappointed in this purchase but glad that it was so cheap. I feel like I just got tricked into donating money.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Canaday

    I bought this book quite a while ago and put it in my "not finished" folder on my kindle after about 20 pages. Recently on a holiday and with my credit card expired, I had to pull out something to read that I already owned. I've given it a good long go, can't really say how far I've gotten because I've read about 200-275 pages and my kindle says I still am only at 4% and 27 hours to go. So...........ya, no. I couldn't connect in this book. I wanted it to be a book similar to Book of Negroes and I bought this book quite a while ago and put it in my "not finished" folder on my kindle after about 20 pages. Recently on a holiday and with my credit card expired, I had to pull out something to read that I already owned. I've given it a good long go, can't really say how far I've gotten because I've read about 200-275 pages and my kindle says I still am only at 4% and 27 hours to go. So...........ya, no. I couldn't connect in this book. I wanted it to be a book similar to Book of Negroes and it just wasn't at all. It was dry and emotionless and I couldn't find a connection with the main character. The writing is inordinately flowery and complicated and not how anyone speaks, let alone a general labourer back in those days. It felt like the writer/main character was trying to prove how educated and well spoken he was by being overly descriptive, using unnecessary synomyms instead of the common words. It was irritating. More than anything though, the book didn't leave me angry at white society for what they'd done, it didn't make me sad or frustrated for him and the life he was stolen from. It just made me.......bored. And that's a real disappointment.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Noel Burke

    This was truly a sad story, but the ending was very good. It was well worth my time to listen to the story. Slavery was truly a horrible thing. I appreciated viewing slavery not simply from a history book but through the eyes of a person who lived it. I want to see the movie now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Maxwell

    It was a very good book and the perspective made it moving. This being non-fiction and telling what slavery was like through the eyes of a slave that had been beaten, whipped, taken away from his family is really sad.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought this book was intresting it thought me a lot that I didnt know about slaves How they were treated and how their life was and what they were thinking. I would recomende this book to other people

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    the fact that this is a primary source and is so well-written is simply extraordinary

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ainsley Miller

    I'd been putting off reading this book for ages, oddly not because of the subject matter but because I was worried about the language used because of the time this book was written. This book is so good and I found it to be very true to the film. I found that I had to keep reminding myself that this actually happened and that people are that cruel. I would strongly recommend 12 Years A Slave it is a fantastic history lesson, I'm also visiting Louisiana next September so I'll be able to the I'd been putting off reading this book for ages, oddly not because of the subject matter but because I was worried about the language used because of the time this book was written. This book is so good and I found it to be very true to the film. I found that I had to keep reminding myself that this actually happened and that people are that cruel. I would strongly recommend 12 Years A Slave it is a fantastic history lesson, I'm also visiting Louisiana next September so I'll be able to the vision Solomon and see how much advancements the state has made.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophy

    ****** I ONLY READ 12 YEARS A SLAVE, NOT THE OTHER STORIES (IN MY BOOK IT WAS JUST 12 YEARS A SLAVE)****** Soloman Northup was born a free man in Minerva, New York in 1808. Soloman originally helped out around his farm, like his father had before him. But soon he realized he had a talent for playing the fiddle. After marrying Anne Hampton on Christmas Day 1829, two men (supposedly) from a traveling circus show asked Soloman if he would join them and Soloman agreed. But soon after joining the two ****** I ONLY READ 12 YEARS A SLAVE, NOT THE OTHER STORIES (IN MY BOOK IT WAS JUST 12 YEARS A SLAVE)****** Soloman Northup was born a free man in Minerva, New York in 1808. Soloman originally helped out around his farm, like his father had before him. But soon he realized he had a talent for playing the fiddle. After marrying Anne Hampton on Christmas Day 1829, two men (supposedly) from a traveling circus show asked Soloman if he would join them and Soloman agreed. But soon after joining the two men Soloman was drugged and sold into slavery. Soloman served for a number of "masters" some of which were brutally cruel, but others of which he praised for their humanity. After many years of enslavement he came into contact with an outspoken abolitionist from Canada who informed his family of his whereabouts. Finally Soloman was freed from slavery, after this he tried to send his enslavers to prison, but the case was dropped due to legal technicalities. This story had such amazing detail that at times I couldn't even believe that it was non-fiction. So many scenes I could just picture in my head almost as if I had been there, and sometimes that was terrifying, though many times it was intriguing as well. Not only was it as if I had been there but I could also always hear (while reading the story) the narrator. Almost as if he was in the back if my head just whispering he words to me, but it was always in a certain voice and this intrigued me. Its hard to say what else this book did well, because it is a piece of non-fiction. So I guess I have to say that it was an amazing non-fiction book. Cover to cover it was gull of interesting--though sometimes disturbing--facts from the past. Facts that brought me to terms with what had happened, and though after reading I still had questions my mind was so filled with all the of information I had learned that it was hard to actually ask them. I recommend this book to someone with a tough conscience, because this book can shove a lot of guilt on to certain people. But I don't think thats the point, this book is trying to tell a story not place the guilt, so instead of letting this book get to you about things you can't change, think of how you can use what you learned through this book for the future.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robsy

    Engrossing, and one of the very few books I believe every person should read. I thought the language of the 1800's would make it (an even more) a difficult read, but the writing isn't stilted and it almost reads like a novel with great sentences like, "His manners are repulsive and coarse, and his language gives speedy and unequivocal evidence that he has never enjoyed the advantages of an education." The detailed accounts of the absolute arbitrary and insidious nature of slavery are fascinating Engrossing, and one of the very few books I believe every person should read. I thought the language of the 1800's would make it (an even more) a difficult read, but the writing isn't stilted and it almost reads like a novel with great sentences like, "His manners are repulsive and coarse, and his language gives speedy and unequivocal evidence that he has never enjoyed the advantages of an education." The detailed accounts of the absolute arbitrary and insidious nature of slavery are fascinating and heartbreaking. Many of the scenes are so cruel and violent that if depicted on film it would seem too slapstick and ridiculous. The workings of the 'system' and how all get caught up in it as 'just the way it is and always has been' is pretty amazing. Not to mention all the religious folks who thought it justified in the Bible. He also gives an interesting account on how the slavery system affected Southerners as well. (White) Southerners were just different and seemed to settle disputes brutally and with violence "...that would condign punishment in the Northern States, are frequent on the bayou, and pass without notice, and almost without comment. Every man carries his bowie knife, and when two fall out, they set to work hacking and thrusting at each other, more like savages than civilized and enlightened beings." He goes on, "The existence of Slavery and its most cruel form among them has a tendency to brutalize the humane and finer feelings of their nature. Daily witnesses of human suffering – listening to the agonizing screeches of the slave – beholding him writhing beneath the merciless lash– bitten and torn by dogs – dying without attention, and buried without shroud or coffin – it cannot otherwise be expected, than that they should become brutified and reckless of human life." In fact you read that when several Northerners come south to rescue him, they are fascinated by what they see on the plantations- it's a true foreign wilderness to them--the land and its slave-owning citizens. Learned a lot and has given me much to think about as it relates to the current times and inequality, wages, jobs, education and expectations. As well as how women are treated in brutal systems around the world.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy Schumacher

    Very disappointed. I can't even read the book. All I can see are the pictures. At least it only cost 99 cents.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a deeply touching, interesting and tragic account of slavery in nineteenth century America written by a former slave. Solomon Northup was a free black man living in the State of New York when America was still split between the non-slavery states in the north and the slave-using states in the south. Solomon was drugged, kidnapped and taken into the deep south where he was sold into slavery to work on plantations for twelve years until he was finally able to get word to his family of his This is a deeply touching, interesting and tragic account of slavery in nineteenth century America written by a former slave. Solomon Northup was a free black man living in the State of New York when America was still split between the non-slavery states in the north and the slave-using states in the south. Solomon was drugged, kidnapped and taken into the deep south where he was sold into slavery to work on plantations for twelve years until he was finally able to get word to his family of his whereabouts. Solomon and his fellow slaves suffered the most dreadful, inhumane treatment and abuse imaginable. Treated as nothing more than property he was worked half to death, given little or no food, beaten and whipped and threatened with death daily. How anyone survived under those conditions is a mystery to me. Because he began his life free Solomon was an educated man who could read and write (skills which most slaves did not possess being denied even the most basic education by the slave owners) and was able to pass a letter to a white man on the plantation who took pity on Solomon and delivered it for him. The entire time Solomon was a slave he used a different name and could never reveal that he was actually a free man who had been kidnapped. When he had tried to do so not long after being kidnapped he was savagely beaten and warned that if he told a living soul he would be murdered by his 'master' Despite the age of the book it is very well written and easy to read, the barbaric cruelty suffered by the slaves is a stain on humanity and a reminder of how cruel human beings can be to each other. An excellent read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annemarie Donahue

    HOLY COW! This book was amazing. So I'm not saying anything that is new or ground-breaking as this book has been read by much smarter people who have a better pedigree to say stronger, smarter things.. see they wouldn't even say "things". But this book written by Northup himself was touching, terrifying, truthful and very humbling. Quick overview of plot: he's talked into traveling with two guys to Washington to play the violin as part of a circus, he's paid well and is about to return home when HOLY COW! This book was amazing. So I'm not saying anything that is new or ground-breaking as this book has been read by much smarter people who have a better pedigree to say stronger, smarter things.. see they wouldn't even say "things". But this book written by Northup himself was touching, terrifying, truthful and very humbling. Quick overview of plot: he's talked into traveling with two guys to Washington to play the violin as part of a circus, he's paid well and is about to return home when he gets sick and is kidnapped from his room in the middle of the night. When he wakes up (which he doesn't know if that's the next day or a few days later) he finds he's being sold as a slave. He is really honest and doesn't claim to know for a fact if the men who recruited him in Saratoga, NY, to come with them were part of the plot or not. Anyways, he's sold to Ford who treats him well but then sold to a series of jack-asses. It's harrowing to hear a man born to freedom and liberty actually speak WELL of a man who claimed that owning humans was okay, and godly. And that's what makes this book a great read. It's not just angry, which would be understandable, it's a story of a saga, an epic, but it's treated as an understatement. The people whom Northup writes about are presented as multi-dimensional, and Northup often takes a moment to understand where they are coming from (which is usually jack-ass-land). Loved this. All students should get to this book and definitely get their nerd on! I really want to do a vlog on it, but can't as my students crawl all over my youtube channel and I don't want to encourage cheating. Go read for yourself!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martine

    rated based on importance, not reading enjoyment, obviously. It took me a long time to read this, most of the time because my head was just not in the right mindset to read this. It's... the worst book to read on the train because this is the kind of story yu need to make time for, you need to focus on.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Sorrell

    Solomon Northups 12 Years a Slave recounts the authors life story as a free black man from the North who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South. The son of an emancipated slave, Northup was born free. He lived, worked, and married in upstate New York, where his family resided. He was a hard working, talented laborer and also an accomplished violin player. In 1841, two con men offered him lucrative work playing fiddle in a circus, so he traveled with them to Washington, Solomon Northup’s 12 Years a Slave recounts the author’s life story as a free black man from the North who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South. The son of an emancipated slave, Northup was born free. He lived, worked, and married in upstate New York, where his family resided. He was a hard working, talented laborer and also an accomplished violin player. In 1841, two con men offered him lucrative work playing fiddle in a circus, so he traveled with them to Washington, D.C., where he was drugged, kidnapped, and subsequently sold as a slave into the Red River region of Louisiana. For the next twelve years he survived as the human property of several different slave masters, with the bulk of his bondage lived under the cruel ownership of a southern planter named Edwin Epps. In January 1853, Northup was finally freed by Northern friends who came to his rescue.

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