12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
Written by: Solomon Northup
Narrated by: Louis Gossett, Jr.
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios
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.
What I Thought:
This was very hard to listen to. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to someone to be born into slavery. But imagine being born free, and then as a married adult with children, being kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Some of the things Solomon and the other slaves had to endure at the hands of their master, and that they were forced to do to other slaves, were so horrible that I literally cringed. This was the first time I heard of a slave owner forcing a slave to harm another slave. What Solomon was forced to do to a female slave was shocking. No, it wasn’t sexual.
I can’t wrap my head around how someone could treat another human being that way.
I teared up many times during this book, especially when Solomon was finally rescued. I’m sure there were parts in the book that told of some of good times the slaves had, but honestly I don’t remember any specific thing. The torture the slaves endured is what I remember.
The audiobook I read was narrated by Louis Gossett, Jr. and I thought he did a good job, but his voice was so deep that at times the last word or two of a sentence was hard to understand.
This book will stay with me for a very long time.