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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"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)
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.
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!
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.
Absolutely a compelling and gripping story that was also read in a manner that only reinforced the power of the narrative. Highly recommended!
"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
"A must read for all"
Took a while getting used to the language but well worth it. Superbly read! Brilliant story - I only wish that more had stood up against the scourge of slavery sooner. A dark moment in history.
This book is well narrated, it's a brilliant book, I enjoyed a lot, but be warned does have very emotional and heartbreaking at times. By Wendy
Very nice tone and pace to the reading this made the rich language even more enjoyable to hear than it would have been had I read the book. I had seen the film and wanted to learn more which I am not sure I did but felt I should listen to the wider story. Interesting but not quite as good as I had hoped.
"A truly harrowing insight"
A truly harrowing insight but a must read/listen.
Written in beautiful language and skilful turn of phrase. Narration read with heart.
On beginning this audio book, I was unable to think of anything other than getting back to it. Solomon Northup's story is as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming in the knowledge that he was saved after 12 terrible years being degraded by unscrupulous white slavers. His fortunate meeting with Bass leads him back to his rightful place. The overriding sadness Is for all the many black people that were held in captivity and the injustice felt will stay with the reader. This is truly a masterpiece of immeasurable importance.
"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.
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.
This story is the truth told by an educated hard working man who was lucky to survive to tell of his awful ordeal
The main character Solomon Northup resilience is inspiring. It provided a rare insight into the plight many still suffer today
This was very difficult to stop listening, a very addictive read
This would be suitable for adults and teenagers alike. It truly made me think twice how lucky we are
"12 Years a Slave"
Well Worth it
Definitely recommend listening to before watching the film, as lots missed on the screen
"Reader read with feeling! Make me cry"
What is there to like? What is there not to like?
Sad, but very eye opening. I cried a lot especially when slavery tears families apart like Eliza's.
Utterly brutal narrative.
I like the way he read and acted the characters. Hugh would change his voice and drawl to match the character, made me feel i could see and hear the characters.
Struck down, but not destroyed.
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