Published in 1853, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, firsthand account of the horrors of American chattel slavery. Solomon Northup was a free Black man in New York and a successful tradesman when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. When Solomon was finally rescued, he wrote this memoir telling of his experiences in brutal detail. The book sold 30,000 copies in the three years after its publication and became a bestseller for its time. A 2013 film inspired by the book was a critical and financial success and won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year.
Read our full plot summary of Twelve Years a Slave or chapter-by-chapter breakdowns.
See a complete list of the characters in Twelve Years a Slave.
Find important quotes from Twelve Years a Slave.