Yes, I would recommend this audiobook to my friends.
This story takes you into the mind and thoughts of a slave in mid-1800s Louisiana. This book has a slightly different angle, telling the story from the perspective on a free man of color who was lured from his hometown in New York and kidnapped into slavery in Washington DC (on the mall across from the Capitol), then shipped to Louisiana. Solomon is highly intelligent and smarter than most slaves (and slave masters), and has unique talents. He describes aspects of slavery that are very seldom told. As a descendant of a slave, this is the first book I have read that answered questions that are never asked. It shed insight on why the slaves continued in slavery and did not, or could not, revolt en masse, and what they did when they just couldn't take it anymore. As an African-American, I especially appreciated the effort made by the author to enlighten future generations about the truth of 19th century Southern slavery and provide a factual view of the institution based on his actual experience, and a balanced account of individual men who populated plantation society.
It is hard to compare this book to any I have read, since most books about slavery tell pretty much the same story. This author really tried to capture the life and experience of this slave and shared his inner thoughts. This is was made this book exceptional.
Based on Lou Gossett's very personal performance of the slave Solomon Northup's first-person story, I'm thinking that the movie can't match what I just experienced. He makes you feel as if you are actually sitting across from him, perhaps over coffee, and he is sharing his story, sometimes engaging you in the haunting details of his captivity and the characters he encountered along his journey (some evil, some heroic), and sometimes emotionally gripping you with heart-rending moments that he conveys with perfection. You soon forget it's a performance and you live the moment with Solomon. The realism Gossett delivers helps you to visualize the people and scenes in your mind in a way that seems more powerful than a movie's visuals. I am an avid audiobook listener and this experience was unique. It's much more than a narration, it's bringing a slave from 150 years ago back to life and placing him in front of you.
Yes, it was hard to turn off.
I would recommend this audiobook to all African Americans. It gives a new insight into our ancestors life. It answers some of those questions that we don't ask.
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