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Twelve Years a Slave

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Solomon Northup

Narrated By: Louis Gossett, Jr.

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Date: March 2013

Duration: 7 hours 48 minutes


In this riveting landmark autobiography, award-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York, Louisiana, and Washington, DC, to experience the kidnapping and twelve-year 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. This enhanced edition with an accompanying Collector’s Extra is based on the research of Dr. Sue Eakin, the nationally recognized authority on Solomon Northup who spent a lifetime authenticating his story.

Solomon’s 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, brought about by Mrs. Epps’ jealousy of her husband’s sexual exploitation of the pretty young slave. Finally, a friend from New York attempts a courageous rescue that could either result in Solomon’s greater suffering or death, or get him back to the arms of his family.

“A moving, vital testament to one of slavery’s ‘many thousands gone’ who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation. It is also a chilling insight into the ‘peculiar institution.’”—Saturday Review


  • Nadia R.

    I absolutely loved this book and the narration. I felt as if I were there, back in history.

  • Arwa Y

    This book was difficult to read. If it was fictional it would still be emotional and painful. But the fact that this is based on a true story adds a whole other spectrum of realism.

  • Barbara Skipper

    I learned so much about slavery that I did not know. The story was never boring, and the narrator was outstanding. I am glad I took the time to listen to it on my travels.

  • Mike morgan

    Have to say after seeing the movie I was compelled to purchase this audio book. It was not what I expected, and excellent story drawn out by the Author's portentous use of the English language. Seems like he was writing to prove he was no dummy.

  • James Kattoor

    This book is so heart-wrenching and painful to read, that the only thing that enabled me to listen through it in its entirety was the knowledge that there is a happy ending, at least for the protagonist, Solomon Northup. As usually is the case with movies based on books, the book is much more detailed and intricate than the movie. Notwithstanding the powerful visuals in the movie, the book brings to life the emotions, the relationships and the characters in a much more nuanced and vivid manner that the movie did not and could not. That everything in the book is true, and that one set of human beings, no matter how uncivilized, could and did show such cruelty to another set of human beings is something that I am not able to comprehend. Yet, unfortunately, it is true, and they could and they did!

  • Angelia McLean

    Incredible story and incredibly told-Narrator was superb!

  • Melanie Anderson

    Excellent book that everyone should read or listen to. A very human story of a very inhumane time in American history. The narration is excellent!

Twelve Years a Slave

by Solomon Northup

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Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup