Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Twelve Years a Slave (the book)

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know the story. Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York is kidnapped and sold into slavery, where he struggles to regain his freedom after twelve years. I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. So many of my friends have said the movie was difficult to watch.

Of course there is violence and torture in the narrative of Solomon who has to take on the name of Platt to avoid further floggings. But beyond the descriptions of the vilest nature of slavery in these United States, we hear the voice of Solomon who sees his life as evidence against the myth that slaves are better off on the plantation.

As a side note, I remember the history books of my elementary school days during the years of Jim Crow, saying slaves were happy and sang a lot.

What is most fascinating for me about this book is its being published and achieving best seller status before it went into obscurity, only to be rediscovered in the 1960's. What a treasure this book is.

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