Hugh Quarshie reads the extraordinary autobiography of Solomon Northup. His harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.
Shipped to New Orleans, he endures the life of a slave in Louisiana's isolated plantation country. For twelve long years, he endures the unimaginable brutality and inhumanity of daily life, while keeping his dignity intact and dreaming of one day returning home to the arms of his family.
Twelve Years a Slave is soon to be a major motion picture, starring Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender.
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"A moving, vital testament to one of slavery s many thousands gone who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation. It is also a chilling insight into the peculiar institution.” (Saturday Review Online)
After seeing the movie, I wanted to read or hear the book and had to decide which of several versions to go with. So glad I selected the Hugh Quarshie audible.com performance. I can't imagine a better reading. It felt as though I was hearing it straight from Soloman Nothrup, including some of the pronunciation nuances.
Believing this understanding should be part of every American's education, I have read a number of very enlightening slave narratives/histories. I do agree with another reviewer who said that Northrup's story, because it is told from the perspective of a free as well as enslaved man, is special and builds a helpful bridge that a 21st century free person can relate to. Normally I wouldn't say this, but I do recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. In this particular case, it enhanced my ability to "see" what was happening.
"This is a book for the school curriculum"
Absolutely. This book was touching, poignant, frightening and enlightening. Solomon Northrup was a courageous man and this is a story of hope and triumph. I loved listening to it and it was beautifully narrated.
I learnt a great deal about the slave era. I have read many fictional books on this subject and we all know the stories, but, this memoir was much more raw and authentic. I loved the character of Solomon Northrup and his factual, and understated emotional account was powerful and informative. It is an unforgettable story.
I haven't listened to this narrator before but I have to congratulate him on this performance. He read the story with exactly the right amount of emotion and at exactly the right tempo. I would love to hear him read again.
I found the book very emotional, although I did not laugh or cry. I think my over-riding emotion was shame. I am white. The slave owners were white. I am ashamed that any person from my race could ever have been so cruel.
An excellent book that I will never forget.
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