Customer Reviews for

12 Years a Slave: (Movie Tie-In)

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(235)

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(36)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

143 out of 154 people found this review helpful.

Highy Recommended- Buy It!

This book was about the life and Journey of Solomon Northup, who unfortunately was stolen from freedom and made a slave. Born in New York State in 1808 as a free man, he was well educated, learned how to swim (which is very rare to find in an African American at the ti...
This book was about the life and Journey of Solomon Northup, who unfortunately was stolen from freedom and made a slave. Born in New York State in 1808 as a free man, he was well educated, learned how to swim (which is very rare to find in an African American at the time) and an exceptional worker. But in 1841 he was kidnapped in Washington D.C. where he was forced to work as a slave for the next twelve years on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

This book is definitely going on my list of favorite books. It has such a detailed and vivid description of his experience that I almost felt like I was there with him. He incorporates sadness, depression,and death with happiness, excitement, and love. This is sometimes very hard to achieve when writing about slavery but somehow he brought it all together in the best of ways. One of my major "likes" about this book was that he showed a side of slavery that doesn't get recognized all too often; compassion. Solomon made friends with other slaves that stood by him and showed him sympathy whenever he needed it. But the major shocker is that one of his many masters, a man named Ford, treated Solomon with respect and even said that he was better than a white man (Tibeat), right to his face. Thats when I started to adore this book and wanted to keep on reading. My only real "dislike" was that after a while, not much was happening besides him being a slave and going through what they normal experienced, but that did not stop the fact that is was a great book.

This book gives detailed descriptions of the fear, brutality, and hardships that slaves went through which makes it a must read book because people should know the history of our country and recognize the ones who were there.

posted by Max23 on September 23, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

22 out of 152 people found this review helpful.

Fiction disguised

This is the worst fiction disguised as history I have ever seen. Many of the atrocities as described did happen and leave their scars on the souls of decent men. BUT, in spite of an apparent skill at writing, there is just too much exaggeration to be credible. Some "whi...
This is the worst fiction disguised as history I have ever seen. Many of the atrocities as described did happen and leave their scars on the souls of decent men. BUT, in spite of an apparent skill at writing, there is just too much exaggeration to be credible. Some "whippings", described as "500 lashes" or even more, are too much a stretch of imagination. (Even for today's politicians) The poor man's back would, long ago, be stripped to the bone, and the hours of whipping would have to been done by a machine!

posted by ThePearlEH on September 18, 2011

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    Highy Recommended- Buy It!

    This book was about the life and Journey of Solomon Northup, who unfortunately was stolen from freedom and made a slave. Born in New York State in 1808 as a free man, he was well educated, learned how to swim (which is very rare to find in an African American at the time) and an exceptional worker. But in 1841 he was kidnapped in Washington D.C. where he was forced to work as a slave for the next twelve years on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

    This book is definitely going on my list of favorite books. It has such a detailed and vivid description of his experience that I almost felt like I was there with him. He incorporates sadness, depression,and death with happiness, excitement, and love. This is sometimes very hard to achieve when writing about slavery but somehow he brought it all together in the best of ways. One of my major "likes" about this book was that he showed a side of slavery that doesn't get recognized all too often; compassion. Solomon made friends with other slaves that stood by him and showed him sympathy whenever he needed it. But the major shocker is that one of his many masters, a man named Ford, treated Solomon with respect and even said that he was better than a white man (Tibeat), right to his face. Thats when I started to adore this book and wanted to keep on reading. My only real "dislike" was that after a while, not much was happening besides him being a slave and going through what they normal experienced, but that did not stop the fact that is was a great book.

    This book gives detailed descriptions of the fear, brutality, and hardships that slaves went through which makes it a must read book because people should know the history of our country and recognize the ones who were there.

    143 out of 154 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Refreshing approach

    This book simply tells the story from the perspective of Solomon Northup. He successfully left out any preconceptions, assumptions and told the story from what he actually witnessed, heard, felt and thought. I could not put the book down reading about his feelings and thoughts on this horrific time in his life. A compelling story.

    61 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2003

    EXTREMELY COMPELLING AND HEART GRABING

    THOUGH I DIDN'T READ THE BOOK......I SAW THE MOVIE ON T.V. FOUR TIMES AND EACH TIME I SAW IT, I'M REMINDED OF THE PAIN AND SUFFERING MY PEOPLE ENDURED JUST SO I CAN FREELY DO THIS ........WRITE A COMMENTARY WITHOUT FEAR. I THANK 'G-D' FOR YOU SALOMAN NORTHUP. YOU HELPED TO KICK DOORS OPEN WITH BARE FEET SO THAT I MAY WALK THROUGH WITH SHOES ON.

    45 out of 114 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    A fascinating personal history

    I really knew nothing about live as a slave, or even life during that time period. I found the book fascinating and informative. The author is very detailed in his descriptions, so you can easily picture what he is describing. He was a great observer, and even adds some wry humor here and there. Hearing his thoughts as he goes through the different situations really helps you understand what it must have been like. Knowing that it is a true story makes it all the more compelling. It gave insight into lots of questions I had about life as a slave- how aware of their situation were they, why didn't they just escape, what kinds of freedoms did they really have, were all owners cruel, how could otherwise good people own slaves, what happened when slaves were smarter than their masters, how did they cope with families being separated? I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it. One thing I would like to know - did any of the author's former owners eve read the book, and what did they think?

    39 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    Remarkable, moving, painful

    The story was presented in a moving way.
    I had no idea that free men were kidnapped and taken as slaves
    Everyone should read this book

    27 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    A Must Read! I couldn't put it down!

    This is an amaedzing true story of Solomon Northup who was born in the free state of New York. People befriended him and he is taken to Washington, DC under false prentences. He is kidnapped and sent to Louisiana to the cotton plantations. How Solomon kept the faith and endured one can only believe he was made up of a fabric of his fore fathers. He knew how to make the most of interacting with the other slaves and the plantation owners. Solomon Northup wasn't freed until after 12 years. This book should be manaditory reading for every school.

    20 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2014

    I've known of this story for many years. Not only bc it's depict

    I've known of this story for many years. Not only bc it's depicting our history, but it's depicting my family's history. I'm Solomon Northup's 4x's great granddaughter, and I can't tell how completely proud and honored I am that my grandfather's story is getting so much recognition. The movie brought light to the book, which I'm so thrilled to see. The book is now being distributed to many schools. My family's history is making history. And I am so absolutely honored to be of the blood of this strong and intelligent man. The book is well written and the story is well detailed. If you've seen the movie, please read the book!

    19 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    A Must Read Book

    I have read about 6 books dealing with slavery such as Booker T. Washington, H. Tubman, and F. Douglas,and I must say that I have enjoyed this title the best. Solomen gives an inside experience of slavery that I never knew existed.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    I'm not much of a reader. I haven't read a book since elementary

    I'm not much of a reader. I haven't read a book since elementary school; I'm 25 now. Believe me when I tell you I couldn't put this book down. I created a Barnes and Noble account solely to post this review. I highly recommend this book!!! It is a must read!!!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    OMG

    THE SAMPLE IS ONLY THE TABLE OF CONTENTS

    11 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Recommend

    Powerful auto-biography! Was very well-written.

    10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Highly Recommended - Must Read for all Americans

    This artfully written masterpiece is raw in its honesty and disturbingly revealing about America's tragic history.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is an amazing account of Solomon Northup┬┐s 12 years as

    This book is an amazing account of Solomon Northup’s 12 years as a slave. Solomon was born a free man but was kidnapped and tricked into slavery and spent the next 12 years as a slave on a Louisiana plantation. Solomon was well educated and it shows in his writing. I give this book my highest praise.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2000

    Twelve years a slave

    I thought the story was compelling and it was not hard for me to believe considering my parents are both from Louisanna. Have heard so many of these stories.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Its a phenomenal book. Its a profound visual of what life was as

    Its a phenomenal book. Its a profound visual of what life was as a slave and his endurance through it all. Excellent! Please read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Great book!

    Have not seen the movie. But reading this book is a must for white, blacks, and any other nationailty. Raceisum should not ever be in a person's mind or vocabulary
    The saying goes, walk in my shoes for a day. Or no shoes.
    God made us to be what He wants us to be. Follow His leading and be blessed you live in freedom. Be sorrowful for those that don't have and be there to help if you are able.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    Loved this book

    This book was excellent. It should be made manditory for all schools to read as ciriculum. This is proof of what our culture was like in past times. The sad thing is some people are still as ignorant about race then as they are now. I think this book is a true representation of american history. Thank god it is not like those times again.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    highly recommended

    i really enjoyed this book and it made me do a lot of thinking.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Very good book.

    It covers the subject very well. There is a lot of evil people out there. No one should have been treated like this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2014

    I purchased this book on a whim, following the Oscars, without k

    I purchased this book on a whim, following the Oscars, without knowing anything about the book or the movie except that the movie version was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Because I am fascinated by the history of slavery, and because it was made into a much talked about movie in which one of my favorite actors, Brad Pitt, has a role, I took a chance on Twelve Years a Slave, and have not regretted it once. In many ways it’s not an easy book to read and took me several weeks to finish, but once I got used to the narrative, it was nearly impossible to put down. 

    “What would become of me? Who would befriend me? Wither should I fly? Oh, God! Thou who gavest me life, and implanted in my bosom the love of life who filled it with emotions such as other men, thy creatures, have, do not forsake me. Have pity on the poor slave¬ - let me not perish. If thou cost not protect me, I am lost - lost! Such supplications, silently and unuttered, ascended from my inmost heart to Heaven.”

    As you can tell from the quoted text, Twelve Years a Slave isn’t a book you read in a rush. This type of narrative is the exact reason why I don’t read works by Shakespeare and other such classics of this kind. English is my second language, and this type of narrative is foreign to me and tends to deter me from reading such books. Yet, this novel, once I got used to the narrative, appealed to my humanity and I felt the suffering of Northup and others of his kind as clearly as though it was being done to me personally.  

    The second thing that made this book really hard for me to read was the injustices done to the slaves. The mere fact that they were treated and considered not as human beings, but as lowly, yet slightly more intelligent than wild animals, made me cry buckets of tears. I was appalled and alarmed at the horrific treatment, and the unjust and severe punishments bestowed upon these people. They were ridiculed, beaten to an inch of their lives, mistreated, underfed, tortured, oppressed, and weren’t even granted the most basic of possessions such as eating utensils. The last book I read about slavery in the American south was Sue Monk Kidd’s, The Invention of Wings, and as horrified as I was by her in-depth portrayal of slavery, the characters of that novel lived a fairly easy life compared to the one described by Solomon Northup.

    To compound my feelings of horror at the inhumane treatment endured by slaves at the hands of their malicious owners, was the realization that all of what Northup was describing really happened. To him, and thousands of others, this was real life. It made it so much worse. They lived a life I can’t imagine, but Northup, with understanding, gentle honestly, and fairness towards his enslavers, takes the reader into a world which, luckily for the reader, can be escaped by closing the book when the harsh reality of it all becomes too much, whilst, for the unfortunate slaves, there was no escaping their merciless and painful journey through life. 

    As a final thought, Twelve Years a Slave made me appreciate the freedom I have. Many times I’ve considered the fact that we are all slaves in one form or another. We aren’t one-hundred-percent free to do exactly as we please. We all have to conform to rules, regulations, or laws of some sort. Yet nothing, in my opinion, takes away our freedom of choice in the manner slavery did. Northup’s story touched me deeply, and my heart ached for every slave in this novel, and every slave that had to endure brutality in any form. This novel contains many scenes of heartbreaking cruelty, but it also makes it clear that not all slave owners were malicious and unjust, and that there were thousands of slaves who lived a good life with generous and kind owners. Still, this is not a book I’ll recommend to just anyone, but it’s definitely worth the time for those brave, compassionate, and open-minded enough to bear witness to the plight of the ill-treated masses on whose blood and sorrows the foundation of a prospering country was built.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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