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Twelve Years a Slave | [Solomon Northup]

Twelve Years a Slave

In this riveting landmark autobiography, which reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York; Washington, D.C.; and Louisiana to experience the kidnapping and 12 years of bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War.
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Publisher's Summary

Official Movie Tie-in Audiobook for the Academy Award's Best Picture and Golden Globe's Best Drama winner.

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller.

In this riveting landmark autobiography which reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York, Washington, D.C., and Louisiana to experience the kidnapping and twelve years of bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War. It validated Harriett Beecher Stowe’s fictional account of Southern slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which had become the best-selling American book in history a few years earlier and significantly changed public opinion in favor of abolition. Experience our official movie tie-in audiobook for the award-winning motion picture, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong'o. This audio edition with an accompanying custom map is based on the research of Dr. Sue Eakin, the nationally recognized authority on Solomon Northup who spent a lifetime authenticating his story.

Hard working Solomon Northup, an educated free man of color in 1841, enjoys family life with his wife and three children in Saratoga, New York. He delights his community with his fiddle playing and antic spirit, and has positive expectations of all he meets. When he is deceived by “circus promoters” to accompany them to a musical gig in the nation’s capital, his joyful life takes an unimaginable turn. He awakens in shackles to find he has been drugged, kidnapped and bound for the slave block in D.C.

After Solomon is shipped 1,000 miles to New Orleans, he is assigned his slave name and quickly learns that the mere utterance of his true origin or rights as a freeman are certain to bring severe punishment or death. While he endures the brutal life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated Bayou Boeuf plantation country, he must learn how to play the system and plot his escape home.

For 12 years, his fine mind captures the reality of slavery in stunning detail, as we learn about the characters that populate plantation society and the intrigues of the bayou – from the collapse of a slave rebellion resulting in mass hangings due to traitorous slave Lew Cheney, to the tragic abuse of his friend Patsey because of Mrs. Epps’ jealousy of her husband’s sexual exploitation of his pretty young slave.

When Solomon finally finds a sympathizing friend who risks his life to secret a letter to the North, a courageous rescue attempt ensues that could either compound Solomon’s suffering, or get him back to the arms of his family.

AUTHENTICATION: Northup’s harrowing first-hand account was authenticated from decades of research by Dr. Sue Eakin, who rediscovered the original narrative as a 12-year old in 1931 and made it her life’s work.

For additional audio clips, background info and images, see our website at www.12YearsASlaveBook.com.

Download your unique free map based on Solomon's narrative.

©2013 Eakin Films & Publishing (P)2013 Eakin Films & Publishing

What the Critics Say

“...Gossett infuses the words with a quiet, seething power." (AudioFile, 2013)

“I can never read his account of his days in slavery, of his independence of spirit, of his determination to be free…without believing that it would make a difference in today's world if our contemporaries knew of such a man as Solomon Northup." (Dr. John Hope Franklin, past president of the American Historical Association, best-selling author, recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom, nation's highest civilian honor)

"[T]he extraordinary narrative of Solomon Northup is the most remarkable book that was ever issued from the American press." (Detroit Tribune, original 1853 review)
"Its truth is far greater than fiction." (Frederick Douglass, famous writer, former slave and abolitionist)
"It will be read extensively, both at the North and the South." (New York Tribune, 1853, published by Horace Greeley)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1325 )
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4.3 (1192 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carol 03-07-15
    Carol 03-07-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Historically Detailed and Beautifully Spoken Words"
    Where does Twelve Years a Slave rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best story and voice match


    What did you like best about this story?

    The period style writing spoken


    What about Louis Gossett, Jr.’s performance did you like?

    Brought forth period images


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Which one? Ther were many!


    Any additional comments?

    Phenomenal listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-03-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Even better than the movie"

    Louis Gossett Jr. does a great job of bringing this story to life. I bought the Kindle version as well which has footnotes that explain many details. But I found the Audible version so compelling that I had to hear it all first. If you enjoyed the movie, I guarantee that you'll love this even more. It's both horrifying and inspiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynda Waseca, MN, United States 03-01-15
    Lynda Waseca, MN, United States 03-01-15 Member Since 2008

    Variety...the spice of life! I read a variety of genres. From historical fiction, to murder mystery, to vampires and on to teen fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a lesson in humanity!"

    I heard this book was a movie, so as usual, I like to read/listen to the book before I see the movie. I enjoyed this book as it was well written and had a story that left me in awe. It brings us back to a time in history that I still cannot believe happened; when humans enslaved others in the U.S. This book does a good job of sharing the author's trials and tribulations and we see the depth of character of this man. The reader does a great job of capturing the voices and making me believe I was really hearing them. I believe this book is something that everyone should experience. You will be spending your audible credit well with this selection!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Meriweather 02-18-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Awesome, Heartbreaking and Redemptive"

    If you enjoy the monologue of Ref from Shawshank Redemption, you will also enjoy this monologue and the description of accounts of this life journey!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RollaMike 02-13-15
    RollaMike 02-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    3
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    "Moved! The best Audible Book yet enjoyed."

    Words cannot express the treasure of this story, the superb narration, nor the appreciation of what must have gone into making it possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MOJO 01-19-15
    MOJO 01-19-15 Member Since 2013
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    110
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    "Beautiful"

    Heartbreaking and shocking story, beautifully written and wonderfully narrated. Now I can't wait to watch the movie. It's gonna be very hard picking out a book after this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Powerful"

    Amazing what original author experienced and the struggles he had to undergo living in slavery knowing what freedom was and just tell nasty people can be to one another it help me to understand some of the reasons for the Civil War

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-03-14 Member Since 2013

    jrherres

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    "excellent book; critically important to read"

    great book. difficult story to imagine someone surviving. excellent capture of a sad part off our history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanisha 11-25-14
    Tanisha 11-25-14
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    "Fantastic Read"
    What made the experience of listening to Twelve Years a Slave the most enjoyable?

    I really wanted to read it but not time. Always on the go and so the audio version was perfect.


    What does Louis Gossett, Jr. bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is perfect for this book. Just loved everything bout it.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did get emotional


    Any additional comments?

    This is just amazing all together. I have highly recommended it to friends and family. I have also shared it across all my social media accounts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny 11-03-14
    Jenny 11-03-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Horrible yet intriguing reality of our past."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It was very well written and revealed the horror of some our country's behavior.


    What other book might you compare Twelve Years a Slave to and why?

    Roots. They both reveal a past about which we don't want to talk.


    What about Louis Gossett, Jr.’s performance did you like?

    He was very good. It took awhile to get used to his voice. It seemed to slur a touch, so was hard to understand at the beginning.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was moved by the few kind white people who were willing to help slaves.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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