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Twelve Years A Slave

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Twelve Years A Slave
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Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation. After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone as educated as Solomon Northup, or by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.--Page [4] of cover.
Publisher: New York, NY : Penguin Books, 2013
ISBN: 9780143125419
0143125419
Branch Call Number: B Northup N
Characteristics: xxxviii, 240 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Gates, Henry Louis
Berlin, Ira 1941-
McQueen, Steve 1969-
Alternate Title: 12 years a slave

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With all the hoopla surrounding the movie, I figured I’d better at least gain some idea of Solomon’s story. Being an inveterate nerd, I reached for the book instead. Now that I’ve read it, I don’t think I’m going to watch the film. My imagination painted Solomon’s story in all-too-vivid detail while I read and I have no need to revisit some of the more graphic scenes.

If you're on the lengthy wait list for this eBook, wait no longer. It is freely available online. One site is the University of North Carolina, which is a text version. Another is archive dot org, which has a scan of the original book. The wonders of the internet.

This is a fascinating read. Don't miss it.

Jan 10, 2014
  • kigersthree rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I borrowed the ebook, not the book ( http://download.maineinfonet.org/A5348EB6-AE77-46AD-B06B-B41C4612A528/10/50/en/ContentDetails.htm?id=093D88D1-507F-4C98-87FC-D3D39C414E38 ), Not sure why the ebook doesn't show up in search ....

Anyway! the text of Twelve Years is incredible. The preface by Gates, and the intro by Berlin are both interesting. But if you have the chance, read Dr. Sue Eakin's edition. Besides the complete text of Twelve Years, Dr. Eakin also includes over 100 pages of additional material, including what happened after the book ended, maps, photos, etc.

Dec 20, 2013
  • Jane60201 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I thought this was an amazing book about a true life situation that was written by someone with the education to describe his experiences objectively.

Dec 09, 2013
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The extraordinary true story that was the inspiration for the best film of the year. Gives a harrowing account of the daily life of slaves. Also see Frederick Douglass's and Olaudah Equiano's narratives.

Nov 18, 2012
  • JoCoAcadian rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Solomon, the author, was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He was educated and had an amazing memory that enabled him to remember names, places, and descriptions for twelve years. Details that he wrote about are corroborated with official documentation and other evidence. That is significant because it means the book can be used as an historical document.

He was sold a few times, so that enabled him to write about the differences in how slave owners treated their slaves. Slave life wasn't all toiling in the fields and working on the plantations even when working for his most severe owner. There was some free time and some enjoyable times. Different owners gave different amounts of days off for Christmas. Certainly that's nowhere near the same as being able to determine your own working and personal time periods, but maybe their time wasn't quite as dictated as it is generally understood to have been. He also had some skills that plantation owners desired so that gave him some advantages. Of course it was absolutely not fun and games. Some owners whipped their slaves and sometimes even made slaves whip other slaves.

His rescue was close to not happening. I was surprised but it seemed to be that no one was told his slave name, so they got kind of lucky to have found him.

It is a small book - only about 250 pages. He wanted to present the description of slavery in a non-biased way, and he does a very good job of it, but there were times when I wanted more description so I could get a better sense of having to live like that and be able to feel more empathy with him. But it is an incredible recounting of his life during those years, and it is a significant documentary of that period in U.S. history.

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