Book Review: Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Going into reading this book I had absolutely no knowledge about it other than it was a true story and that it, obviously, took place in the US in the 1800s. I thought it was a biography that had been published long after the war based on the writings of the man it was about but I was wrong. This book is an autobiography written in 1853 and it has been in circulation ever sense. Just a bit of a warning, because it was written in 1853 the language is a little weird. There are a lot of words used in the book that we don’t commonly use today (I had to look up quite a few) and the sentence structure can be very off the wall because, you can tell, the man writing it was trying to show he was educated and proper. 

Summary: Solomon Northup was born a free man in the state of New York when slavery was at its peak. He had a family and they had a good life, he and his wife worked to provide a stable home for their children. Solomon was a skilled violinist and was frequently asked to play all over the state. One day he meets two men who say the run a circus in Washington and would like him to accompany them back. They told him he would be paid for his service and that they would pay for his return journey. It wasn’t long after arriving in Washington that Solomon fell ill and was kidnapped from the inn he was staying in. From there he was taken to New Orleans and sold into slavery. From here he tells about the different people who owned him and the types of labors he was required to perform. 

My thoughts: It was a very compelling read. It took me longer to get through than I thought but it wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it. Like I mentioned before, the language was different than what I am used to so that made the going a little slower but it was an incredible story to read. It’s one of those tales that is a real eye opener because it was written by a man who never experienced bondage before he was kidnapped. It is something I would definitely recommend reading! 

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