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Twelve Years a Slave
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Archive: Other Books > Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup - 4 stars

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message 1: by Joy D (last edited Jul 21, 2018 08:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joy D | 3878 comments Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup - 4 stars

Non-fiction that describes Solomon Northup’s experience as a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, where he remained from 1841 to 1853, working on plantations in Louisiana before being rescued through the efforts of friends and family. I was impressed by this account, especially since it was documented almost immediately upon his return to freedom when his memories were fresh. This powerful narrative vividly depicts life of a slave in the antebellum American South, including slave pens, sales, quarters, abuses, and the processes of picking cotton and harvesting sugar cane. Though he suffered severe misery, both physically and mentally, Solomon Northup never gave up hope of being released. This book shows the amazing resilience of the human spirit in the face of great adversity. It is surprisingly readable, considering it was published in 1853, with only a small amount of anachronistic language. I wish it had included more about how he re-adapted to his family and former life, but it is short and focused on his enslavement. Content warnings include extreme brutality, abuse, degradation, and racism. I found it a significant, still-relevant, first-hand indictment of slavery. This book is a piece of history. Recommended.

Link to my review:

message 2: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 412 comments The movie was excellent, glad to hear you liked the book as well :)

message 3: by Tracy (new) - added it

Tracy (tstan) | 1207 comments I listened to this, read by Louis Gossett, Jr. It was an emotional ride, but a necessary and compelling book.

message 4: by Joy D (last edited Jul 21, 2018 08:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joy D | 3878 comments Thanks, Hilde. I have not seen the movie. I tend to be able to handle brutality in print but visually I find it too disturbing.

I agree, Tracy. This book is an important part of history.

message 5: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6194 comments Thanks for the review. It was excellent and made me want to push this one up on my TBR.

Diane Zwang | 485 comments Joy I agree with you that this book is a piece of history and is recommended. I read this before the movie came out with my book club. We all thought it an important read. I agree that it is easier to read about brutality than watch it on a screen. I did watch the movie but skipped the brutal parts.

message 7: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7871 comments I have not seen the movie, your review of the books though has made it add to TBR-thanks

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Very important story. I was shocked I had not heard of this until the movie came out. Loved the book, not for content, but because of value. The movie was good but definitely enjoyed the book better. I still have trouble imagining what Solomon went through.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Good review. I have not read the book, only have seen the movie. That was quite powerful and there were times I struggled to watch it. What Solomon went through was heart wrenching.

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