Paperback: 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup – fully illustrated 1853 edition

12 Years a Slave by Solmon Northup



The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American living in New York in 1841, who was kidnapped, sold into slavery, and subjected to unimaginable degradation and abuse until his rescue twelve years later.

This moving and utterly brutal book is a harrowing account of his life in the sugar and cotton plantations of Louisiana, subject to varying degrees of savagery and abuse by a series of owners. Against all odds, Northup eventually manages to get word to his family – and the ensuing rescue from the drunken and sadistic Mr Epps and subsequent legal cases are no less shocking than the rest of the tale.

Northup’s meticulous first-hand recordings of slave life, written in conjunction with a white lawyer called David Wilson, provide a true-life testament to tremendous courage and resolve in the face of unspeakable injustice.

Now a major Hollywood film, winner of Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards, and directed by Steve McQueen – starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.

This brand-new edition is beautifully reproduced from the 1853 edition.

Also available as an e-book – with additional bonus material, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe:


Apostrophe’s beautifully crafted ebook classics will please fans of old and new media alike.” – Dr Matthew Rubery, BA (Texas) PhD (Harvard), Reader in 19th-Century Literature.



“I can speak of slavery only so far as it came under my own observation—only so far as I have known and experienced it in my own person. My object is, to give a candid and truthful statement of facts: to repeat the story of my life, without exaggeration, leaving it for others to determine, whether even the pages of fiction present a picture of more cruel wrong or a severer bondage.”



“It is better than the film … A testament to the glory of the human spirit in triumph over the worst of human abuse.”
Daily Telegraph

“Glowing reviews of the forthcoming film of this book have reawakened interest in the original source material, and justifiably so.” Daily Mail

“A powerful and riveting condemnation of American slavery …” Amazon

“… both horrifying and heartbreaking and all the more devastating when you know that it is true …” Amazon

“For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup’s tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement. When I read 12 Years a Slave for the first time, it was like the first time I read Anne Frank’s diary. And I wondered to myself, ‘Why isn’t this book on everyone’s bookshelf.” – Ira Berlin

“For me, it’s a classic. It should be in every school.” – Steve McQueen, director of the Academy-nominated film adaptation

“Frightening, gripping and inspiring … Northup reminds us of the fragile nature of freedom in any human society and the harsh reality that whatever legal boundaries existed between so-called free states and slave states in 1841, no black man, woman or child was permanently safe.” Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“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


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