Twelve Years a Slave

Open Road Media
996
Free sample

The harrowing true story that inspired the critically acclaimed film
The son of a freed slave, Solomon Northup lived the first thirty years of his life as a free man in upstate New York. In the spring of 1841, he was offered a job: a short-term, lucrative engagement as a violinist in a traveling circus. It was a trap. In Washington, DC, Northup was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years on plantations in Louisiana, enduring backbreaking labor, unimaginable violence, and inhumane treatment at the hands of cruel masters, until a kind stranger helped to win his release. His account of those years is a shocking, unforgettable portrait of America’s most insidious historical institution as told by a man who experienced it firsthand.
Published shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s memoir became a bestseller in 1853. With its eloquent depiction of life before and after bondage, Twelve Years a Slave was a unique and effective entry into the national debate over slavery. Rediscovered in the 1960s and now the inspiration for a major motion picture, Northup’s poignant narrative gives readers an invaluable glimpse into a shameful chapter of American history. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices. 
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The story that inspired the major motion picture produced by Brad Pitt, directed by Steve McQueen, and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery. This beautifully designed ebook edition of Twelve Years a Slave features an introduction by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, the bestselling author of Wench.

Solomon Northup was an entrepreneur and dedicated family man, father to three young children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. What little free time he had after long days of manual and farm labor, he spent reading books and playing the violin. Though his father was born into slavery, Solomon was born and lived free.

In March 1841, two strangers approached Northup, offering him employment as a violinist in a town hundreds of miles away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York. Solomon bid his wife farewell until his return. Only after he was drugged and bound, did he realize the strangers were kidnappers—that nefarious brand of criminals in the business of capturing runaway and free blacks for profit. Thus began Northup's life as a slave. Dehumanized, beaten, and worked mercilessly, Northup suffered all the more wondering what had become of his family. One owner was savagely cruel and Northup recalls he was "indebted to him for nothing, save undeserved abuse." Just as he felt the summer of his life fade and all hope nearly lost, he met a kind-hearted stranger who changed the course of his life. With its first-hand account of this country's Peculiar Institution, this is a book no one interested in American history can afford to miss.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jan 28, 2014
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Pages
225
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ISBN
9781480476882
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Now published for the first time, For Country, Cause & Leader offers an eyewitness account of the Civil War by a Union soldier who fought from Bull Run to Knoxville. This remarkable book presents the transcription of some twenty pocket diaries kept throughout the first three years of the Civil War by Charles B. Haydon and sent back one by one to his home in Decatur, Michigan, to be read by his father and brother. As readable as they are lively and informative, they offer a marvelous firsthand view of the war and constitute an important addition to our Civil War library.
Haydon served through some of the most important engagements of the period. He began as a third sergeant and ended as a lieutenant colonel. In the East he witnessed the rush to the colors, the first Bull Run, the building of the Army of the Potomac, the Peninsula campaign, and the fighting at second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Early in 1863 his regiment was transferred to the western theater, where it served in Kentucky and under Grant at Vicksburg. Haydon was severely wounded in Mississippi. During the winter of 1863-64 he was in Tennessee and engaged in the campaigning around Knoxville. In March 1864—ironically, on his way home on furlough— Haydon contracted pneumonia and died.

Charles Haydon had considerably more education than the average soldier, and his journal reflects the fact. A good half-dozen years older than most of his fellow recruits, he had studied for four years at the University o f Michigan, read law, and was in practice when he volunteered. His journal, which was meant to be read, was a deliberate and conscientious attempt to record his experiences and thoughts of the war.
Stephen Sears, the distinguished Civil War historian, has edited Haydon’s journal for the general reader. Its publication will be met with enthusiasm by historians and lay readers alike.
 
In 1863, while living in Clarksville, Tennessee, Martha Ann Haskins, known to friends
and family as Nannie, began a diary. The Diary of Nannie Haskins Williams: A Southern
Woman’s Story of Rebellion and Reconstruction, 1863–1890 provides valuable insights into
the conditions in occupied Middle Tennessee. A young, elite Confederate sympathizer,
Nannie was on the cusp of adulthood with the expectation of becoming a mistress in
a slaveholding society. The war ended this prospect, and her life was forever changed.
Though this is the first time the diaries have been published in full, they are well known
among Civil War scholars, and a voice-over from the wartime diary was used repeatedly
in Ken Burns’s famous PBS program The Civil War.

Sixteen-year-old Nannie had to come to terms with Union occupation very early in
the war. Amid school assignments, young friendship, social events, worries about her
marital prospects, and tension with her mother, Nannie’s entries also mixed information
about battles, neighbors wounded in combat, U.S. Colored troops, and lawlessness in the
surrounding countryside. Providing rare detail about daily life in an occupied city, Nannie’s
diary poignantly recounts how she and those around her continued to fight long after
the war was over—not in battles, but to maintain their lives in a war-torn community.

Though numerous women’s Civil War diaries exist, Nannie’s is unique in that she also
recounts her postwar life and the unexpected financial struggles she and her family experienced
in the post-Reconstruction South. Nannie’s diary may record only one woman’s
experience, but she represents a generation of young women born into a society based
on slavery but who faced mature adulthood in an entirely new world of decreasing farm
values, increasing industrialization, and young women entering the workforce. Civil War
scholars and students alike will learn much from this firsthand account of coming-of-age
during the Civil War.

Minoa D. Uffelman is an associate professor of history at Austin Peay State University.
Ellen Kanervo is professor emerita of communications at Austin Peay State University.
Phyllis Smith is retired from the U.S. Army and currently teaches high school science in
Montgomery County, Tennessee. Eleanor Williams is the Montgomery County, Tennessee,
historian.
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States
 
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
 
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Four of the most important and enduring American slave narratives together in one volume.

Until slavery was abolished in 1865, millions of men, women, and children toiled under a system that stripped them of their freedom and their humanity. Much has been written about this shameful era of American history, but few books speak with as much power as the narratives written by those who experienced slavery firsthand.
 
The basis for the film of the same name, Twelve Years a Slave is Solomon Northup’s heartrending chronicle of injustice and brutality. Northup was born and raised a freeman in New York State—until he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. Before returning to his family and freedom, he suffered smallpox, the overseer’s lash, and an attempted lynching.
 
Perhaps the most famous of all slave chronicles, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass immediately struck a chord with readers when it was first released in 1855. After escaping to freedom, Douglass became a well-known orator and abolitionist, drawing on his own experiences to condemn the evils of slavery.
 
One of the few female slave narratives, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was originally published under a pseudonym by Harriet Jacobs. After she escaped to freedom in North Carolina, where she became an abolitionist, Jacobs described the particular suffering of female slaves, including sexual harassment and abuse.
 
Published in 1850, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth is Truth’s landmark memoir of her life as a slave in upstate New York and her transformation into a pioneer for racial equality and women’s rights.
 
These narratives serve as a timeless testament to the strength and bravery, and as a voice to the millions of people enslaved in this dark period of American history.
 
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
Collected here in this omnibus edition are three influential autobiographies of prominent men who rose up from slavery to greatness. Essential reading for anyone interested in African American Heritage. Included are Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass. Up from Slavery is one of the most influential biographies ever written. On one level it is the life story of Booker T. Washington and his rise from slavery to accomplished educator and activist. On another level it the story of how an entire race strove to better itself. Washington was constantly, and often bitterly, criticized by his contemporaries for being too conciliatory to whites and not concerned enough about civil rights. It would not be until after his death that the world would find out that he had indeed worked a great deal for civil rights anonymously behind the scenes. Twelve Years a Slave is the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York. He was kidnaped by unscrupulous slave hunters and sold into slavery where he endured unimaginable degradation and abuse until his rescue twelve years later. A powerful and riveting condemnation of American slavery. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is one of the most influential autobiographies ever written. This classic did as much as or more than any other book to motivate the abolitionist to continue to fight for freedom in American. Frederick Douglass was born a slave, he escaped a brutal system, and through sheer force of will educated himself and became an abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman, and reformer. This is one of the most unlikely and powerful success stories ever written.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE’S AWARD IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE’S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK • FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • Good Morning America • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsday • New York Post • theSkimm • Refinery29 • Bloomberg • Self • Real Simple • Town & Country • Bustle • Paste • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • LibraryReads • BookRiot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue

“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review
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