Review: 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Posted February 13, 2014 by Charlotte in Reviews / 0 Comments

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
Review: 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
on January 1st 1970
Genres: Biography, Historical, Non-Fiction
Format: E-Book
Source: Own Copy
Buy on Amazon

A film tie-in edition of this eloquent and powerful memoir, to accompany the major new film starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

I decided to read 12 Years a Slave before I saw the film, and I managed to read the whole book in one sitting on a train ride home.

How can a book like this have disappeared from bookshelves? I am thankful to the film for bringing this story back from obscurity. Twelve Years a Slave conveys the brutality of African-american slavery in a graphic style – the horrors that Solomon has to put up with are unbearable. Yet in an archaic fashion, despite the horrors, Solomon expresses hope and a longing to see his family. All the while expressed through a neutral tone with no hint of bias or bitterness.

12 Years a Slave is as hard-hitting and memorising as The Dairy of Anne Frank – a story which needs to be read.

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