Customer Reviews for

12 Years a Slave: (Movie Tie-In)

Average Rating 4
( 354 )
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(211)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

140 out of 151 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 149 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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Page 2 of 18
  • 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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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Highly recommend

    I saw the movie, then read the book. The book gave some insight that was not in the movie (even the flashback scenes). There were so many different copies online that I was uncertain which I should choose to read. It was quite interesting.

    3 out of 4 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 May 5, 2014

    I was assigned to read a memoir for my AP Language & Composi

    I was assigned to read a memoir for my AP Language & Composition class, so I decided that, due to the movie version’s critical success, it would be the perfect opportunity to read 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup. Because the memoir was written in the 1800s, I was apprehensive at first that the language would be difficult to follow. However, I was pleased to see that Northrup used words that are still commonly used today. In addition to having accessible diction, the book was easy to read because it was very fast-paced; Northrup wasted few pages before he describes being kidnapped by the men who would sell him into slavery. He was brutally honest about the realities of slavery and confirmed many of the details that basic history classes only brush upon. His honesty made 12 Years a Slave a truly emotional memoir and had me engrossed in the story from cover to cover. While those who enjoy history should undoubtedly add this book to their shelves, I think it would appeal any other teen or adult as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    To # 1 review ( lies)

    First off were you there to see or go through it.? You have no idea of how these people were treated but i do believe it to be true after what happened to my ansestors the cherokee indians taken from their land during the civil war days and were made to walk what was later called the trail of tears i have a picture of myself standing in front of the bronze plack telling the story when i was back in Mo, going thru the ozarks, no i do not believe for a minute this book is lies but i think in the minds of some this could bring the thought of racisim into thought only because they look back on how their own people were treated and in some instances still feel treated look up your own history and you might have a different thought hopefully gain the knowledge it takes to be humble and realize civil war era was quite different than now

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Should become part of high school literature

    This is a heartbreaking story of a man with a strong constitution. He recounts his time in slavery with a detail that can be appreciated by free people. The story will allow the young as well as old an insight to the daily life good and bad of a slave.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2013

    A great read

    A first hand account during our darkest time in america history. Its shows the good and bad in people. Read it!

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    Great book poor copy

    Interesting story if you can figure out the transcription

    2 out of 10 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 27, 2014

    Boring

    Slow moving History book - Did not enjoy at all

    1 out of 2 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2014

    Be very careful if you buy this as a Nook e book. . My e book ca

    Be very careful if you buy this as a Nook e book.
    . My e book came as very, very small print. The B&N store could not change it
    either. B&N work do NOTHING to reimburse my money. To bad, so sad was their
     response. I was able to read it with my iPad somewhat.
    Still small print but readable.
    Very good book however.

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    I am a highschool sophomore and read this book for my research p

    I am a highschool sophomore and read this book for my research project. After reading 12 years a Slave, I would say it is an inspiring and amazing book. It is inspiring because he had so much hope that he would go back to his family and tried to take every opportunity to get help. There were several opportunities to escape, however, he didn’t take them because he knew he was being watched and if he got caught he would already have a back up plan. Even though he knew he was a freeman, it didn’t mean he would sit around doing nothing. He would work and give it his all into his work. That inspired me to think, when you are in the worst situation; all you can do is make the best of it. The book was amazing because he survived almost getting killed by Tibeats more then once and seemed to save other lives as well. Another reason why the book was amazing was because after all those years of pain and torture he ended up being with his family. After reading my book I felt very devastated because the thought of how people used to treat slaves or even having slaves made me so sad. This book made me feel very grateful that I was born free. This book would change your view about slavery and would make you think of others and help stop slavery that is still going on now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Boston Bob critique

    WOW! What a book. I heard an interview with film director Ridley on NPR and had to buy it. Told in the first person who factually and with tempered emotion describes his experiences. For the first time ever I have a perspective on slavery from a victim and not an observer or novel author. This is a must read for all including children [ strong A+]

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Very highly recommended.

    One of the best books I have read in a long time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave is a well-written and a d

    Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave is a well-written and a deep and moving story not only of man's depravity in his treatment of others, but also of the inner strength we all have and means we can harness to get out of different predicaments without dehumanizing ourselves in the process. Like the story of Josef in Disciples of Fortune, Solomon Northrup's book gives an amazing of Solomon's trial and tribulations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND

    Read the book before you watch the movie, the book always has so much more details, beautiful and powerful story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Inspirational...Very Well Written...

    Solomon Northrop did an amazing job leading us through his 12 years in captivity.
    The way he wrote was very eloquent and typical for that time period which at times made it hard for me to understand. But that's my problem not the writers'.
    Still have a hard time believing we treat each other as human beings this way.
    GOOD READ !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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