“12 Years A Slave” Based On 1853 Book That’s Free Online

12 Years A SlaveIf you enjoyed the Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave, you may want to give the book from which it was adapted a read as well.

First published in 1853, 12 Years A Slave is an autobiographical memoir of its author, Solomon Northup.

Northup was born a free man in New York, then kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold into slavery, spending 12 years in bondage before being liberated.

The book is a detailed account of those years, and of the daily lives and hardships endured by all those who were forced into slavery.

The original publication is now in the public domain and available for free download on sites such as Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg.

12 Years A Slave has been published in several different editions over the years, with used copies and reprints available from booksellers.  A new edition was published as a movie tie-in by Penguin Books in September, 2013, and is available from sellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, either in paperback or as an eBook.

The memoir has received much critical acclaim, with the Saturday Review calling it “A moving, vital testament.”

In the new edition’s foreward Steve McQueen, director of the film adaptation of 12 Years A Slave, says “The book blew [my] mind: the epic range, the details, the adventure, the horror, and the humanity. . . . I hope my film can play a part in drawing attention to this important book of courage. Solomon’s bravery and life deserve nothing less.”

Let us know in the comments what you think about the book and/or the film.

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Gayle is a former social worker with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Georgia. She's been writing in one form or another for most of her life. She's an avid movie fan, a voracious reader and a pop culture junkie.