Twelve Years a SlaveSolomon Northup

Twelve Years a Slave

4.5 star

Total 1,658 Ratings

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup Book Summary

The story that inspired the major motion picture, with an introduction by the bestselling author of Wench, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery.

The story that inspired the major motion picture, with an introduction by the bestselling author of Wench, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery.

Solomon Northup was an entrepreneur and dedicated family man, father to three young children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. What little free time he had after long days of manual and farm labor he spent reading books and playing the violin. Though his father was born into slavery, Solomon was born and lived free.

In March 1841, two strangers approached Northup, offering him employment as a violinist in a town hundreds of miles away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York. Solomon bid his wife farewell until his return. Only after he was drugged and bound did he realize the strangers were kidnappers—that nefarious brand of criminals in the business of capturing runaway and free blacks for profit. Thus began Northup's horrific life as a slave.

Dehumanized, beaten, and worked mercilessly, Northup suffered all the more, wondering what had become of his family. One owner was savagely cruel and Northup recalls he was “indebted to him for nothing, save undeserved abuse.” Just as he felt the summer of his life fade and all hope nearly lost, he met a kindhearted stranger who changed the course of his life.

With its firsthand account of this country's Peculiar Institution, this is a book no one interested in American history can afford to miss.

Twelve Years a Slave (Solomon Northup) Book Reviews

Great bookHe paints a vivid picture of what slave life was like. I couldn't put it down!.Score: 5/5

Truth One Ups FictionI read this because I wanted to read the story before I saw the movie. After the first few pages getting used to the author's 19th century formal language, I read through the end and turned the last page a bit speechless. I should think even the most informed will be shocked at how slavery actually played out. This memoir makes that painful and shameful episode of our history real- not something that happened a long time ago to some anonymous folk but to flesh-and-blood, hardworking Americans. Amazing..Score: 5/5

Incredible Story...The reader is lead by the hand through a period in this country's history that depicts man's inhumanity to man. There is no turning aside to avoid experiencing the fear, anger and determination of the human spirit..Score: 5/5

12 years a slaveGood reading and extremely interesting.Score: 5/5

Great ReadI loved this book just as much as Wench, I met this author while in high school & she inspired me in a lot of ways!! Can’t wait to read her next book..Score: 5/5

American GoologI had great difficulty putting this book down. Read it in three sittings. It will be a long time before I can see an African American and not think of what the persons ancestors must have gone through . Please don't hesitate, a must read..Score: 5/5

Wonderful BookVery good book. Really enjoyed..Score: 5/5

AwesomeThe book was fabulous. It was sad that Mr. Northup had to endure the cruelty of slavery but to see him persevere in spite of adversity was inspirational. I can't wait to see the film..Score: 4/5

Gripping Slavery NarrativeThe true story of a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery. Vivid description of his experiences and emotions during his 12-year captivity, culminating in his liberation. Quite an emotional experience for the reader- anger, hope, suspense, and final elation. Highly recommended..Score: 5/5

G G GGoing c the movie today.Score: 5/5

Wonderful👏👍👏👍One of the best I have read.. Off to see the movie.Score: 5/5

Wow!!!!What an amazingly inspiring account. it's unbelievably sad that a race of people were enslaved and treated with such injustice..Score: 5/5

12 years a slavesA must read for all who want a true story of slavery in the United States prior to the civil war. This is truly a great, outstanding and and mind provoking work of art. Having spent many summers with relatives, on a cotton plantation in Louisiana this book had special meaning to me. Gordon.Score: 5/5

Twelve Years a SlaveVery well written. Couldn't put this book down. I haven't read a book this good in quite a while..Score: 5/5

Twelve Years a SlaveI was so shocked with the content of the book that I checked twice to see if it really was non fiction. Although I am not indigenous to the USA, it made me ashamed to be a white human being. Beautifully written by a man who has every right to be angry and bitter with the world but instead chose to embrace his rightful freedom - absolutely inspiring!.Score: 5/5

Not sure how I feel about how this was writtenThis compelling story was at times to repetitive and lost in wordiness. Although I found the story interesting, I feel the negatives were focused on, more so than the positives which could have been brought out a little more. Life for slaves in those times was horrific, and that time has passed..Score: 3/5

12 Years a SlaveI agree with the reviews above. I chose to read this when I heard about the movie and heard interviews with star and director on the radio. If what you know about the story has piqued your interest already, read this book, you will not be disappointed..Score: 5/5

Long, difficult journeyThis was a very powerful book. However, the narrative style was difficult to immerse myself in. I am normally a fast reader. If it's a juicy book, I can easily devour it in a day or day. However, this was not the case here. I started this book in November 2013. Over time, I read it here and there, until I finally finished it in January 2014. I normally do not torture myself with such slow reading, but this was a man's accounting of his painful participation in history and it was a chance to get the message firsthand from a man that experienced it. So instead of rushing, I highlighted passages, took notes, and pondered his life. I sometimes set this book aside to look up facts regarding slavery, things the writer mentioned. Reading this has left a mark on my mind and my soul. This is a reminder that freedom is a precious gift. I haven't watched the movie yet, but I'm going to wait a bit. I'm not ready just yet. This journey needs to sink in... If you pick up this book, I highly recommend you stick with it. The reward of enlightenment is worth it..Score: 4/5

OkAnother book of the dark times of our history with enslavement..Score: 3/5

SpectacularThis is an awesome autobiography! How awful were Solomon’s 12 years of bondage but how great was his liberation. I couldn’t put this book down, it was definitely a page-turner. Solomon recounts his life as a kidnapped free person who was sold into slavery. How extremely terrible. This is a firsthand account from a person who lived it, telling how horrible slavery is. I highly recommend this book..Score: 5/5

IncredibleI don't think I've ever left a book more impressed with the character and intellect of any individual. Solomon Northup was an outstanding man, worthy of boundless respect. The book he has written here is beautifully written, deeply emotionally stirring and very insightful to the life of slavery so many Americans suffered through. I highly recommend this book. It is a difficult read as the cruelties if slavery are depicted in much detail. But it is a story that deserves to be heard and remembered..Score: 5/5

A must read!!!My deepest regret is I did not know about this book until the movie was about to come out. After reading it I concluded all African-Americans should read this to appreciate the rights we have now so often we take for granted! I appreciate his perseverance, faith, and hope!!!.Score: 5/5

Great BookAlthough it’s hard to “get into” due to the “wordage” it is an amazing story. Couldn’t put it down. A book to keep on the book shelf.Score: 5/5

Could not stop reading it!This is what schools should have kids read in history! I don't read books often but I wanted to read this prior to seeing the movie and I read it in 3 days! Hands down the best book I have ever read..Score: 5/5

Amazing bookSuch an amazing book, after finishing I came to a thought and conclusion this really happened to someone for 12 years. Not only did this happen to Mr. Northup but also countless of other African Americans. However, they may have not had the same outcome as Mr. Northup did. Such an amazing book!!!!.Score: 5/5

12 years a slaveAwesome book, real page turner..Score: 5/5

12 years a SlaveThis was an excellent book. The kind you don’t want to stop reading. Very well written that I could almost visualize what occurred..Score: 5/5

Page Turner!I could absolutely not put this book down from cover to cover. I’ve seen the movie some years ago but the book just gives you more first-hand depictions. His articulation is so refreshing and satisfying to read from such a time when ignorance was all a person of color was expected to portray. Now I must watch the movie again and certainly, I recommend this book to any and everyone!.Score: 5/5

12 Years A SlaveI saw the trailer for the movie version of this book and thought it would be a good read. Plus it's a memoir, it reminds me of the many times I read another memoir called Prisoner of Tehran. Although the experiences may be different, the feelings 12 Years A Slave will pour into me will have the same effect as Prisoner of Tehran did..Score: 5/5

A great book!This book should be a requirement in every school! A factual picture of the awful system of slavery from someone who'd always been free! The book draws you in. Very descriptive. So glad he was able to regain his freedom!.Score: 5/5

Humbling - a better man after readingThis book will rip your heart out, but keeps you coming back for more. I'm not much of a reader, but I had a hard time putting this book down. I've taken a few things from the book: Don't take your freedoms for granted Love your family every second Be humble.Score: 4/5

12 Years a Slave....not a dry eye do I have. This story - the story of slavery on American soil is such a crime. A crime not talked about enough and not passed down to children. The stories, as sad and heartbreaking as they are, need to be shared. These stories can shed light on racism and it's ugliness..Score: 5/5

INCREDIBLEThis is the first book that truly bought tears to my eyes. It provided me with a front row seat into the unrelenting suffering and inhumane brutality that is American slavery. I'm so glad that I read this story and hope that people truly see that humans should never be this cruel to other humans!! The style of writing is one that I didn't like at first but by the end of the story, I truly respected and enjoyed. Solomon Northrup is an American hero..Score: 5/5

Profound story!An amazing story! Very sad but happy in the end. I think they could've taken Epps and his wife out in the middle of the night, but they had been brainwashed by whites, the whip, and whites using the bible against them. How horrible! Solomon Northup is the real American Hero. No other!.Score: 5/5

Impacts our lives todayThis is a true story about this man and he tells us about everything that happened as a slave. This book can relate to our day lives and how we need to treat everyone equally! I highly recommend this book to everyone!.Score: 5/5

A lLittle bit if a hard read...But worth every word. Enjoyed it. Heart wrenching..Score: 5/5

Overwhelming and heartbreakingTo say the book is well written is an understatement. The author's fluency, especially given that he was a black man in the 1800's, is poetic. His capacity to see good around him and never abandon hope is remarkable. The horrible reminder of our country's inhumanity is always painful, but that his man's truth is particularly hard to take..Score: 5/5

Heartbreaking & Inspiring!This is a great account and keeps me grounded..Score: 5/5

Twelve years a slaveGreat book! The story kept you wanting read more. Highly recommend..Score: 4/5

A must readThis book is a must read for any student of the history of the United States. This autobiographical account details the absolute horror that was slavery in the US and rips asunder any claim that slaves in America were happy with their status or lives. Rather than detail every harsh encounter with a slave master, Northrop simply explains the condition of the status of anyone with African ancestry had at that time as well as the ease with which a black person could be permanently enslaved in a society that would not take sworn testimony and would not accord basic human rights to anyone with an African lineage. The horrors of the status of slavery are well outlined. Anyone who questions whether or not that "peculiar institution" was worthwhile in any part of America will see a strong argument against that viewpoint..Score: 5/5

12 years a slaveGreat book.Score: 5/5

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12 years a slaveThis book is so sad and how he was stolen to be enslaver was the sadest bit about this book.Score: 5/5

Twelve Years a SlaveFascinating real life account of life as a slave from someone not born into slavery, a gem for history buffs, and for those wanting to understand what it felt like to be a slave in the years where people (slave and slave owner alike) were developing the consciousness that slavery was wrong - not natural..Score: 5/5

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Twelve Years A Slave
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