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  • TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE by Solomon Northup – FULL Audio Book | Greatest Audio Books 12
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  • 12 YEARS A SLAVE (the full documentary) WARNING graphic images
  • 12 years a slave – Queen of the fields, Patsey
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Rating: 
Amazon Price: £0.99 (as of February 19, 2018 8:20 am – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Also available on amazon.com for £0.99 (as of February 19, 2018 8:20 am – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

First published in 1853, Twelve Years a Slave is the narrative of Solomon Northup’s experience as a free man sold into slavery. Northup’s memoir reveals unimaginable details about the slave markets, the horrors of life on a plantation, and the dreadful day-to-day treatment of the slaves from the perspective of a man who lived more than thirty years as a free man before being forcibly enslaved.
Written in the year after Northup was freed and published in the wake of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s story was quickly taken up by abolitionist groups and news organizations as part of the fight against slavery. The book fell into obscurity in later decades, only to be rediscovered in the early 1960’s. In 2013 it was adapted into a feature film entitled 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and produced by Brad Pitt. Pitt also played a supporting role in the film, alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti and Sarah Paulson.

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Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1044 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial Classics (22 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FDS85EM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Enabled
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

"This is no fiction, no exaggeration"

5 people found this helpful.
 on 17 November 2014
By K. J. Noyes
This is powerful, maddeningly brutal, heartfelt and hard to forget.

Devastating selection of stories

7 people found this helpful.
 on 4 February 2014
By Claire Hartnell
I bought the book to read Twelve Years a Slave but was completely overwhelmed by the other accounts, particularly Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The phrase ‘Uncle Tom’ has become such a form of disrespect that it had never occurred to me to seek out the source material. Having read it, I can see why this book galvanised people into fighting a war against slavery. It is a pitch perfect rendering of both sides of the argument (as much as there can be 2 sides to an argument about slavery) with the most inspiring array of characters. My heart was in my mouth as I read each chapter and the intensity of the threat towards each character increased then settled then increased again. This book should be compulsory GCSE material and I urge people to take every opportunity to read all the accounts contained here.

A Rare First Hand Account

2 people found this helpful.
 on 2 February 2014
By KateRG31
I bought this after seeing the film and didn’t expect it to be easy to read because it was written such a long time ago. However, the English was very easy to read – it was just the story that wasn’t. Such a sobering tale. The film sticks pretty close and the deviations are clearly for a reason – they don’t materially alter the story. Saw an interview with Steve McQueen, who directed the film, in which he said that the book was widely read until the Civil War after which the American public were more interested in the stories about the soldiers – I suppose they thought the battle against slavery had been won.

Uncomfortable but fascinating personal history

One person found this helpful.
 on 2 February 2014
By Mel Powell
A personal account of abduction, enslavement and rescue by a free born African American in pre-civil war America. This kindle version is not illustrated as advertised but no matter, the work stands alone very well without this embellishment. It is a heart rending tale containing some truly gruesome scenes of deprivation and torture. I think the editor in setting down the story as communicated verbally to him by Solomon Northup, probably took a little licence with some of the expressions and sentiments contained in this volume. I think this is understandable as it was certainly meant to appeal to a white audience to garner support for the abolishionist cause. I have read other reviews that suggest Solomon was a victim of his own attempt to scam a slave trader and this accusation is dealt with in the latter pages of the book. I don’t think it matters how he came to be sold into slavery. There is enough corroboratory evidence to assure us that his treatment and experiences as a slave are accurate and believable. So this really is an indictment of a trade in human flesh that formed a significant and profitable industry and represents a period of incomprehensible institutionalised cruelty which casts a shadow to this day. What I took from this was the very strong sense of Solomon’s character and strength of will. What it must have taken to survive those 12 years without completely giving up in despair, I can barely imagine. How a people can endure not just the physical hardship but the injustice of slavery for so long, again is hard to fathom although Solomon gives a very good personal interpretation of how and why this can and was achieved. At the end of his ordeal, there is great relief at being restored to his family and freedom; gratitude to those helped secure his release but surprisingly little bitterness. Indignation, a sense of the great injustice of his situation certainly but overriding this, a pragmatism which made the greatest impression on me. As to the writing style and language. Yes, it’s nineteenth century. I found it very easy to read. If you struggle with the English of this period, I hope you give this a try and persevere. Stories like this need to be read, still. Lessons still not learnt etc!

A stark reminder of the evil that can be found in the hearts of men

One person found this helpful.
 on 28 April 2014
By Jakeisthecoolest
This frank and honest account of the author’s experiences is often harrowing to read, yet is told with a straight forwardness that is refreshing and certainly lends credibility to the story. Having not seen the film version of this book I was unsure exactly what to expect within. And while it is simply told the story comes alive with the remarkable detail that Northup is able to recall from his time in bondage. The people that he meets are vivid and well rounded, and while for many of them of them we never find out what happens to them, this obviously not being a work of fiction, their stories still matter to us.

A really important book to read – but riddled with typos

 on 11 June 2014
By Max Speed
This is a really important first-hand account of slavery in the 1850s. It gives you a very clear understanding of what life was like at the time, how little the life of a slave mattered, and how desperately they were worked till death and punished and confined. As a first-hand account, written by someone who was enslaved, shackled by his race, you will not find a trace of Victorian sentimentalism of an Uncle Tom “good slave working happily for his gentle master”. Solomon Northup makes it very clear that that can never be true.

Dark History

 on 19 January 2014
By GelS
It seems odd to write a review of this engrossing book when the film (which I’ve seen since starting the book on my Kindle) is in all the news of awards. However; negro Solomon Northup leaves his wife and family behind in mid-1800s New York State to travel to Washington, D.C.,with two men he’s recently met, ostensibly to play violin at a small circus. Once in Washington, he awakes in chains after turning ill following a meal with the men. By various turns of events he finds himself sold as a slave, now renamed Platt. He spends 12 years as a slave on cotton plantations in Bayou Boeuf, Louisiana, eventually finding freedom, and is reunited with his family once more, through the intervention of a moral Canadian carpenter he meets through working on a building project for his ‘owner’. Solomon then wrote this book, which was a success in his time and has been rediscovered to be made into the current film. His comprehensive recount of what befell him and the reality of life in the South, where people were merely treated as beasts of labour due to the colour of their skin, is, from 2014, both fascinating and deeply moving. My wife said I should read it, if only to relish the author’s use of language, which I found fascinating from an historical view. Reading the book and seeing the film was not contradictory – the book is, as usual, capable of providing far more depth and detail than the visual version. Only one fly in the ointment; the Kindle version has even more typographical and spacing errors than most books I’ve read on the screen, something my editing eye was forced to skim over at times. But, beautifully written and a fascinating visit to a time, thankfully long past. I saw one online review suggesting the book was an essential read and would not disagree. Wonderful literature, presumably handwritten at the time, and an absolute bargain for the Amazon price. Highly recommended, especially in conjunction with the film.

An uncomfortable but strangely life-affirming read

 on 25 April 2014
By Bibliodysseus
Solomon Northup was of slave stock but was born a free man in the state of New York where he lived, worked, married and started a family, enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised by the constitution.
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