Twelve Years a Slave

  • by Solomon Northup
  • Narrated by Hugh Quarshie
  • 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Hugh Quarshie reads the extraordinary autobiography of Solomon Northup. His harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.
Shipped to New Orleans, he endures the life of a slave in Louisiana's isolated plantation country. For twelve long years, he endures the unimaginable brutality and inhumanity of daily life, while keeping his dignity intact and dreaming of one day returning home to the arms of his family.
Twelve Years a Slave is soon to be a major motion picture, starring Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender.

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What the Critics Say



10 Best Audiobooks of 2013 (Salon)"The resurgent interest in '12 Years a Slave' has everything to do with Steve McQueen's masterful film adaptation, but the book has more to offer than the movie, and the Ghanian-British stage actor Hugh Quarshie's conversational delivery stands out among a slew of newly released competing audiobook adaptations." (Kyle Minor, Salon)
"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 Online)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This is a book for the school curriculum

Would you listen to Twelve Years a Slave again? Why?

Absolutely. This book was touching, poignant, frightening and enlightening. Solomon Northrup was a courageous man and this is a story of hope and triumph. I loved listening to it and it was beautifully narrated.


What did you like best about this story?

I learnt a great deal about the slave era. I have read many fictional books on this subject and we all know the stories, but, this memoir was much more raw and authentic. I loved the character of Solomon Northrup and his factual, and understated emotional account was powerful and informative. It is an unforgettable story.


Have you listened to any of Hugh Quarshie’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to this narrator before but I have to congratulate him on this performance. He read the story with exactly the right amount of emotion and at exactly the right tempo. I would love to hear him read again.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found the book very emotional, although I did not laugh or cry. I think my over-riding emotion was shame. I am white. The slave owners were white. I am ashamed that any person from my race could ever have been so cruel.


Any additional comments?

An excellent book that I will never forget.

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- Venetia

True Character

I almost didn't listen to this book as the language used takes a little getting used to but I am so glad that I did persevere! This is a beautiful story, brutal in many places but it never fails to show true human character in all it's glory and horror.
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- BillyBlackBear

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-09-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios