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Twelve Years a Slave Audiobook
Twelve Years a Slave
Written by: 
Solomon Northup
Narrated by: 
Hugh Quarshie
Twelve Years a Slave Audiobook

Twelve Years a Slave

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 AudioGO Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • 10 Best Audiobooks of 2013 (Salon)
  • "The resurgent interest in '12 Years a Slave' has everything to do with Steve McQueen's masterful film adaptation, but the book has more to offer than the movie, and the Ghanian-British stage actor Hugh Quarshie's conversational delivery stands out among a slew of newly released competing audiobook adaptations." (Kyle Minor, Salon)

    "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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (273 )
5 star
 (179)
4 star
 (59)
3 star
 (28)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.6 (249 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (16)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.6 (248 )
5 star
 (176)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    R. Comire 01-21-16
    R. Comire 01-21-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth listening to!"

    The narrator made me feel like I was listening to Solomon Northup tell his story. It is hard to stomach the treatment of those who were enslaved, at the same time, it is important to read narratives such as this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glen richardson 09-24-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
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    "Incredible prolific book"

    To My Knowledge this is the only book Northup wrote, which is unfortunate as he is an excellent writer. One of the best books I've ever listened to. An incredible insight into slavery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aimee Powell SAINT JOHNS, FL, US 07-14-15
    Aimee Powell SAINT JOHNS, FL, US 07-14-15 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "By far the best voice"

    There are many readings of this book in many different voices but this one is by far my favorite! I was never annoyed or was unable to understand what he was saying and I thought the vocals matched perfectly with how I imagined Solomon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Dixon 06-09-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great narrative by Quarshie, he had the gift!"

    Blessed are we to have Northup's account of the remarkable triumph over inhuman and unjust treatment!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 06-03-15
    Laura 06-03-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spoken Tears"

    There are so many that could only imagine quite like this. The struggles and strength of Black Americans has brought tears to my heart and eyes. We can not forget from whom. we came from, and where we are going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne M. Nida 02-27-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unbelievable!"

    As a native of Alexandria, LA, this narrative was of great interest to me. It showed vividly the evils of slavery in a way I have never read. Though emotionally difficult to listen to, I think it has given me a better understanding of that period of history. A must read for those who love the truth!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    csk Alameda, CA 12-16-14
    csk Alameda, CA 12-16-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    80
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I can't find the words. Read it."

    This was an incredible listen, one of the best audiobooks I've heard.While I had some slight idea of what U.S. slavery involved, this brought it home more than anything else I've heard. Every time I listened, I came away feeling as if I'd seen a new light shined on human nature as well as on our history. Hearing of humanity's capacity for casual and unthinking cruelty left me thinking about how I live my life, how aware or unaware I am of the suffering of others, and how able or unable I am to look beyond what seems good enough. I also learned of how a human's spirit can be utterly destroyed by unremitting cruelty.

    The author spoke with striking insight and eloquence about what he saw and experienced. I was especially struck by his observations that most of the people involved had a mixture of good and bad in them. He had high praise for one of his owners, who he considered one of the finest people he'd known aside from the single blind spot that he thought that whites should own blacks, because he'd never known anything else and couldn't see beyond it. And I thought again about John Brown's predictions around the same time that slaveholders would not reform without a bloody war, which was soon in coming.

    The narrator was as outstanding as the material, completely owning the material. I can't say enough about this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher United States 02-13-14
    Christopher United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best..."
    What made the experience of listening to Twelve Years a Slave the most enjoyable?

    Absolutely a compelling and gripping story that was also read in a manner that only reinforced the power of the narrative. Highly recommended!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Sigrin
    Valdisere, France
    7/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The resilience and strength of a man."

    Hugh Quarshie, was an excellent narrator. I found I grew quite fond of Solomon through the book as he was a very strong character, and just kept going through all the pains as he knew he was a free man.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    tipperaryIreland
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If there is one book you listen to this has to be it. From start to finish I was hooked, the tone of the narration was pleasant and the story unfolded at a reasonable pace.
    My children and me learnt a valuable historical lesson from first hand account, many years ago we covered the slave trade as art of the school history syllabus, I really wish this had been included.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story is the truth told by an educated hard working man who was lucky to survive to tell of his awful ordeal


    Which character – as performed by Hugh Quarshie – was your favourite?

    The main character Solomon Northup resilience is inspiring. It provided a rare insight into the plight many still suffer today


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This was very difficult to stop listening, a very addictive read


    Any additional comments?

    This would be suitable for adults and teenagers alike. It truly made me think twice how lucky we are

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • phil
    6/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A time machine to a dark place never to forget"

    12 years a slave is a mountain moving story.
    A snap shot of a not so distant dark history.
    Humbling account of a mans ability to hold on to his respect for humanity.
    Let it be a lesson to love and respect all of gods creature and continue to evolve our understanding of what it is to have Liberty

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Senath
    4/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Human injustices"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, especially to anyone who claims to be too busy to take time to read the book.


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

    I have not read one that I would compare it too.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    When he finally regains his freedom.


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

    Yes the inhuman treatment of a fellow human being.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Gareth D.
    6/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautifully read"

    Great. Beautifully read. I was gripped. What a tragic tale of a real life story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ravi
    6/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great book"

    better than the film. Historic based. great adjectives. well done 8.5/10 easy to follow. I enjoyed and feel sorry for all slaves


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lizzie
    uk
    5/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow I really enjoyed this"
    Where does Twelve Years a Slave rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my favourites


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Twelve Years a Slave?

    The return to his family


    Which character – as performed by Hugh Quarshie – was your favourite?

    Has to be the "slave"


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

    there are too many to mention


    Any additional comments?

    I have seen the film which is excellent but the book is even better than the film

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Donalea
    Tottenham, London United Kingdom
    4/16/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing recount of ones life"

    I waited to watch the film till after I finished reading the book, and I am very pleased I did.
    Northup depiction of his experience and observations a so raw, honest, reflective, ironic & funny - it made me angry, laugh and cry. But most of all it taught me about the complex practises, law & psychology of slavery which no history text book or film I've watched on the subject have been able to convey.

    Performed beautifully, I will have to relisten to this narrative again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • G. Rance
    Hertfordshire, England
    3/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing book,very moving and informative."
    Would you listen to Twelve Years a Slave again? Why?

    No, i rarely listen to books again as so many more to read!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Solomon Northup, who endured 12 years of hell but somehow found the strength to keep going.


    Have you listened to any of Hugh Quarshie’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No. I enjoyed the narration.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A tale of endurance.


    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic book, moves me to tears to listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caroline A
    Scotland
    2/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absorbing..."

    If this is not part of the school curriculum, it should be considered so. This audible narrative is excellent in every sense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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