"I could not believe that I had never heard of this book. It felt as important as Anne Frank's diary."--Steve McQueen, from the foreword
Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, 12 Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a series of Louisiana plantations.
After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.
"For sheer drama, few accounts of slavery match Solomon Northup's tale of abduction from freedom and forcible enslavement."--Ira Berlin, from the introduction