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12 Years a Slave

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Overview

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup is a memoir of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped, sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before the American Civil War. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, DC, as well as describing at length cotton cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.
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12 Years a Slave

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Overview

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup is a memoir of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped, sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before the American Civil War. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, DC, as well as describing at length cotton cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781496138422
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Solomon Northup was born a free man in Minerva, Essex County, New York in July 1808.

His father, Mintus Northup, was a freed slave, who took his surname from the family he had served. Mintus's master, Captain Henry Northup, granted Mintus his freedom in his will. After the death of Captain Northup, Mintus, as well as becoming a free man, also managed, later on, to gain the vote by virtue of meeting New York State's property requirements, an impressive feat for someone coming from such a humble background. Mintus died in 1829.

Solomon's mother - unnamed in the book - was a woman of mixed ancestry. There are only sketchy details about her in Solomon's memoir, but it is mentioned that she died while Solomon was held as a slave in the Deep South. Solomon described his mother as a quadroon, meaning she was one quarter black and three-quarters white.

In 1829, Solomon married Anne Hampton, a woman of African, European and Native American heritage, and together they had three children: Elizabeth, Margaret and Alonzo. Solomon Northup worked as a raftsman, carpenter, construction worker and a fiddler, and he and his family initially owned a farm in Hebron, Washington County, before moving to Saratoga Springs, New York to take advantage of better employment prospects. Whilst Solomon worked, mainly as a musician, Anne was employed intermittently as a cook for local taverns and for the United States Hotel.

In 1841, aged 32, Solomon Northup met with two men who called themselves Merrill Brown and Abram Hamilton. After gaining his trust, they drugged him and sold him to slave trader, James Birch, and claimed that Solomon was a fugitive slave. Solomon was then taken to Louisiana, where he remained in slavery for twelve years. It is these twelve years of slavery that are reflected on in this compelling memoir.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Deeply Affecting and a Must-Read for Everyone

    It never occurred to me to find out what the day-to-day life of a slave was like. I knew, of course, that slavery was wrong and a blight on American history. But honestly, the horror of living as a slave was never really clear to me until I read "12 Years a Slave". Imagine being snatched off the street and sold into slavery, just like that. With no way to reach your family or friends. And if you protest, or even just don't do something the was the "Master" says you should have done it, you get WHIPPED with a lash until you bleed as punishment. Imagine working 20 hour days, having 4 hours of sleep, little nourishment, and having to do that every single day except for a few days around Christmas. Imagine the worst and then imagine it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over until you drop down dead from exhaustion.

    That's what this book makes clear. That Solomon Northup was educated is clear in his writing. That he was smart and resourceful is also clear. That his civil rights were violated as much as can be imagined is also clear. And that he lived to tell the tale is really the astonishing thing about this story. Read it. Black or white or Asian or Latino, I doubt you have any idea about the day-to-day horrors of being a slave. I didn't. It's horrific, but you need to know. We all do. 100% required reading.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2014

    Excellent, highly recommend

    I found a lot of information in the book that was lacking in the movie. This information explained some of the thought processes and actions and more which I did not know in the history of the movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I love old books written at the time. They could capture the mom

    I love old books written at the time. They could capture the moment so much better than a lot of modern writers. Brilliant book

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    This book is he best slavery book i have ever read, 5/5 stars. T

    This book is he best slavery book i have ever read, 5/5 stars. Thank you Solomon Northup for making this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Hot girl

    Master im ready

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Great book

    This book is a great read. It is a must read.

    I highly recommend reading this book

    I loved it

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    Posted March 28, 2014

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    Posted February 24, 2014

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    Posted March 3, 2014

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    Posted March 13, 2014

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