The shocking first-hand account of one man''s remarkable fight for freedom; now an award-winning motion picture.
''Why had I not died in my young years - before God had given me children to love and live for? What unhappiness and suffering and sorrow it would have prevented. I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman''s chain was round me, and could not be shaken off.'' 1841: Solomon Northup is a successful violinist when he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Taken from his family in New York State - with no hope of ever seeing them again - and forced to work on the cotton plantations in the Deep South, he spends the next twelve years in captivity until his eventual escape in 1853.
First published in 1853, this extraordinary true story proved to be a powerful voice in the debate over slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. It is a true-life testament of one man''s courage and conviction in the face of unfathomable injustice and brutality: its influence on the course of American history cannot be overstated.
"Born a free man in New York State in 1808, Solomon Northup was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841. He spent the next twelve harrowing years of his life as a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation. During this time he was frequently abused and often afraid for his life. After regaining his freedom in 1853, Northup decided to publish this gripping autobiographical account of his captivity. As an educated man, Northup was able to present an exceptionally detailed and accurate description of slave life and plantation society. Indeed, this book is probably the fullest, most realistic picture of the "peculiar institution" during the three decades before the Civil War. Moreover, Northup tells his story both from the viewpoint of an outsider, who had experienced thirty years of freedom and dignity in the United States before his capture, and as a slave, reduced to total bondage and submission. Very few personal accounts of American slavery were written by slaves with a similar history. Published in 1853, Northup's book found a ready audience and almost immediately became a bestseller. Aside from its vivid depiction of the detention, transportation, and sale of slaves, TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE is admired for its classic accounts of cotton and sugar production, its uncannily precise recall of people, times, and places, and the compelling details that recreate the daily routine of slaves in the Gulf South"--