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Twelve Years a Slave (Unabridged)

by Solomon Northup

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Official Movie Tie-in Audiobook for the Academy Award's Best Picture and Golden Globe's Best Drama winner. New York Times and USA Today Bestseller. In this riveting landmark autobiography which reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York, Washington, D.C., and Louisiana to experience the kidnapping and twelve years of bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War. It validated Harriett Beecher Stowe’s fictional account of Southern slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which had become the best-selling American book in history a few years earlier and significantly changed public opinion in favor of abolition. Experience our official movie tie-in audiobook for the award-winning motion picture, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong'o. This audio edition with an accompanying custom map is based on the research of Dr. Sue Eakin, the nationally recognized authority on Solomon Northup who spent a lifetime authenticating his story. Hard working Solomon Northup, an educated free man of color in 1841, enjoys family life with his wife and three children in Saratoga, New York. He delights his community with his fiddle playing and antic spirit, and has positive expectations of all he meets. When he is deceived by “circus promoters” to accompany them to a musical gig in the nation’s capital, his joyful life takes an unimaginable turn. He awakens in shackles to find he has been drugged, kidnapped and bound for the slave block in D.C. After Solomon is shipped 1,000 miles to New Orleans, he is assigned his slave name and quickly learns that the mere utterance of his true origin or rights as a freeman are certain to bring severe punishment or death. While he endures the brutal life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated Bayou Boeuf plantation country, he must learn how to play the system and plot his escape home. For 12 years, his fine mind captures the reality of slavery in stunning detail, as we learn about the characters that populate plantation society and the intrigues of the bayou – from the collapse of a slave rebellion resulting in mass hangings due to traitorous slave Lew Cheney, to the tragic abuse of his friend Patsey because of Mrs. Epps’ jealousy of her husband’s sexual exploitation of his pretty young slave. When Solomon finally finds a sympathizing friend who risks his life to secret a letter to the North, a courageous rescue attempt ensues that could either compound Solomon’s suffering, or get him back to the arms of his family. AUTHENTICATION: Northup’s harrowing first-hand account was authenticated from decades of research by Dr. Sue Eakin, who rediscovered the original narrative as a 12-year old in 1931 and made it her life’s work. For additional audio clips, background info and images, see our website at

Customer Reviews

A Must Read

This is an excellent book. Lou Gosset Jr did a great job narrating. I wanted to read the book before I viewed the film, and I am glad I did. As always, it is difficult to capture an amazing narrative such as this in a two hour film. I would recommend reading the book before you see the film so you can understand the entire course of events.

Superb narration to a powerful story

The story of Solomon Northup is such a powerful one in its own right, and having Louis Gossett, Jr. narrate is the perfect choice. Gossett reads of the heartbreak, the strength, the resilience, the ultimate rescue of Northup, but you are suddenly listening to Northup himself, recounting the details of his life. The emotions he feels, the situations he finds himself placed in, the thrill of being released from captivity, you feel it all with him. The closing words by Dr. Eakin show what an important piece of history this is to tell, and how much of herself she put into doing just that.

This is an amazing version

I saw that they are making a movie based on this book. I am glad I heard this first, and I wonder if the film will hold up to this amazing read by Louis Gossett. He has a perfect delivery that isn't too dramatic, but is so intense it makes the material so emotionally powerful for the listener.

Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $14.95
  • Narrator: Louis Gossett, Jr.
  • Published: 2013

Customer Ratings