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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.
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Critic Reviews

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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Joel on 01-23-14

What an Experience

In mid-2013 I first saw the trailer for the movie Twelve Years a Slave and knew right away I wanted to see it. I've got to be honest I'd never heard of Solomon Northup nor his story. What I appreciated most about reading Twelve Years a Slave was it was the most honest telling of that time period I've ever read. The descriptions that Solomon had on being a slave, his masters, and his fellow slaves made you feel like you were back in the mid-1800's in the South,

What can I possibly say that hasn't already been said before. To me Twelve Years a Slave should be required reading for all students in America. It shows slavery through the eyes of a slave not something we have many first hand accounts of. I'm so glad I read Twelve Years a Slave and cannot wait to see the movie.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Caro on 12-01-13

Hugh Quarshie performance -- strongly recommended

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 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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By BillyBlackBear on 03-21-14

True Character

I almost didn't listen to this book as the language used takes a little getting used to but I am so glad that I did persevere! This is a beautiful story, brutal in many places but it never fails to show true human character in all it's glory and horror.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

By mrs wendy watson on 04-29-15


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

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 10-20-17


OMG what a truly moving and unforgettable story. l lived every moment of it and felt like I was there watching it unfold in all its horrendous deeds right to the conclusion.

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By Alison Wren on 08-01-14

Everyone needs to know this story.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. This harrowing yet most eloquently told story is essential reading/listening for all. It is compelling, horrific, sad and yet uplifting. It is also an education, a really necessary one.

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

I can't compare this to anything else.

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

Solomon Northup is the story and so it follows that his strength of character and recounting of his ordeal makes him my favourite.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I cried hard at the end, so glad was I that he escaped the hell he was living. I cried for the years he and his family lost and also that he couldn't free all the pour souls he was imprisoned with.

Any additional comments?

I read this after seeing the movie. Normally that doesn't work for me, it's better the other way around but in this case, I believe it helps to have seen the movie first. It makes you better able to envision it all. The narrator, Hugh Quarshie is superb. Highly recommended. I think everyone should listen to this, so they know and hopefully can learn.

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