Twelve Years a Slave

  • by Solomon Northup
  • Narrated by Stephen L. Vernon
  • 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Twelve Years a Slave is an account of actual events that took place in the life of Solomon Northup, during the pre-Civil War era of the 1840s. It follows the trials and tribulations of an educated African American man that was born into freedom and later kidnapped, taken away from his family, and forced into slavery.
His story brings to life a shockingly common practice that took place during those times. In his journey, Northup, who is a native of Saratoga, New York, and has a wife with three kids, gets lured into leaving his home town by two circus promoters who ask him to accompany them to Washington, D.C., while getting paid to perform at a musical gig.
This trip, which he thought would only take a few days turned in to an unimaginable voyage of deceit and great misfortune. Those few days turned into 12 long years, in which Northup was placed back into slavery in the isolated plantation country of Louisiana's Bayou Boeuf where he quickly learned that the mere mention of his past freedom would result in severe punishments or possibly his own death.
His story takes a drastic turn when a heroic friend risks his own life to help deliver the news of Northup's whereabouts to his wife, in order to help him regain his freedom. This heroic act could ultimately get Northup killed or help return him back home, to his family and freedom.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What a great book!!!

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

Of the many audio books that I have listened to, this is definitely one of the most beautifully written autobiographies.
It gives an excellent firsthand account into the daily life and unfortunate occurrences that took place during that time in American history. Northup did a great job at putting his life events together in this book.
The story is also told very well by the narrator, making this a real pleasure to listen to. Cannot praise it any higher, it will make a wonderful addition to any library…


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- Andrew Robbin

Heartwrenching Story With Brilliant Narration

The harrowing details surrounding the kidnapping and enslavement of Solomon Northup are made even more bone-chilling in the audio version of 12 Years a Slave. A free black man from New York, Solomon is taken by two men who claim to be working to promote the circus. Unfortunately, Solomon puts his trust in them, and later wakes up in Washington, D.C., having been slipped a drug and bound so that he would not escape. It is then that his incredibly heart-wrenching story begins as he is shipped down to Louisiana, only to incur harsh brutality as property of a slave master.

Stephen L. Vernon's reading of 12 Years a Slave in this audio version does every bit of the novel the justice it deserves. Slowing his reading pace in some areas, while speeding it up in others, Vernon reads with a diligence and a respect that is owed to this true story. Although certainly a tear-jerker, this novel is an important must-read that provides insight into America's history, and showcases the mentality and perspective of not just the slaves, but their families, their friends, and the people who owned and traded them.
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- Michelle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-25-2014
  • Publisher: A.R.N. Publications