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12 Years a Slave (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Solomon Northup , Malcom Washington
3.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (26 commentaires client)

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Twelve Years a Slave


Having been born a freeman, and for more than thirty years enjoyed the blessings of liberty in a free State-and having at the end of that time been kidnapped and sold into Slavery, where I remained, until happily rescued in the month of January, 1853, after a bondage of twelve years—it has been suggested that an account of my life and fortunes would not be uninteresting to the public.

Since my return to liberty, I have not failed to perceive the increasing interest throughout the Northern States, in regard to the subject of Slavery. Works of fiction, professing to portray its features in their more pleasing as well as more repugnant aspects, have been circulated to an extent unprecedented, and, as I understand, have created a fruitful topic of comment and discussion.

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.

As far back as I have been able to ascertain, my ancestors on the paternal side were slaves in Rhode Island. They belonged to a family by the name of Northup, one of whom, removing to the State of New York, settled at Hoosic, in Rensselaer county. He brought with him Mintus Northup, my father. On the death of this gentleman, which must have occurred some fifty years ago, my father became free, having been emancipated by a direction in his will.

Henry B. Northup, Esq., of Sandy Hill, a distinguished counselor at law, and the man to whom, under Providence, I am indebted for my present liberty, and my return to the society of my wife and children, is a relative of the family in which my forefathers were thus held to service, and from which they took the name I bear. To this fact may be attributed the persevering interest he has taken in my behalf.

Sometime after my father’s liberation, he removed to the town of Minerva, Essex county, N. Y., where I was born, in the month of July, 1808. How long he remained in the latter place I have not the means of definitely ascertaining. From thence he removed to Granville, Washington county, near a place known as Slyborough, where, for some years, he labored on the farm of Clark Northup, also a relative of his old master; from thence he removed to the Alden farm, at Moss Street, a short distance north of the village of Sandy Hill; and from thence to the farm now owned by Russel Pratt, situated on the road leading from Fort Edward to Argyle, where he continued to reside until his death, which took place on the 22d day of November, 1829. He left a widow and two children —myself, and Joseph, an elder brother. The latter is still living in the county of Oswego, near the city of that name; my mother died during the period of my captivity.

Though born a slave, and laboring under the disadvantages to which my unfortunate race is subjected, my father was a man respected for his industry and integrity, as many now living, who well remember him, are ready to testify. His whole life was passed in the peaceful pursuits of agriculture, never seeking employment in those more menial positions, which seem to be especially allotted to the children of Africa. Besides giving us an education surpassing that ordinarily bestowed upon children in our condition, he acquired, by his diligence and economy, a sufficient property qualification to entitle him to the right of suffrage. He was accustomed to speak to us of his early life; and although at all times cherishing the warmest emotions of kindness, and even of affection towards the family, in whose house he had been a bondsman, he nevertheless comprehended the system of Slavery, and dwelt with sorrow on the degradation of his race. He endeavored to imbue our minds with sentiments of morality, and to teach us to place our, trust and confidence in Him who regards the humblest as well as the highest of his creatures. How often since that time has the recollection of his paternal counsels occurred to me, while lying in a slave hut in the distant and sickly regions of Louisiana, smarting with the undeserved wounds which an inhuman master had inflicted, and longing only for the grave which had covered him, to shield me also from the lash of the oppressor. In the church yard at Sandy Hill, an humble stone marks the spot where he reposes, after having worthily performed the duties appertaining to the lowly sphere wherein God had appointed him to walk.

Up to this period I had been principally engaged with my father in the labors of the farm. The leisure hours allowed me were generally either employed over my books, or playing on the violin—an amusement which was the ruling passion of my youth. It has also been the source of consolation since, affording, pleasure to the simple beings with whom my lot was cast, and beguiling my own thoughts, for many hours, from the painful contemplation of my fate.

On Christmas day, 1829, I was married to Anne Hampton, a colored girl then living in the vicinity of our residence. The ceremony was performed at Fort Edward, by Timothy Eddy, Esq., a magistrate of that town, and still a prominent citizen of the place. She had resided a long time at Sandy Hill, with Mr. Baird, proprietor of the Eagle Tavern, and also in the family of Rev. Alexander Proudfit, of Salem. This gentleman for many years had presided over the Presbyterian society at the latter place, and was widely distinguished for his learning and piety. Anne still holds in grateful remembrance the exceeding kindness and the excellent counsels of that good man. She is not able to determine the exact line of her descent, but the blood of three races mingles in her veins. It is difficult to tell whether the red, white, or black predominates. The union of them all, however, in her origin, has given her a singular but pleasing expression, such as is rarely to be seen. Though somewhat resembling, yet she cannot properly be styled a quadroon, a class to which, I have omitted to mention, my mother belonged.

I had just now passed the period of my minority, having reached the age of twenty-one years in the month of July previous. Deprived of the advice and assistance of my father, with a wife dependent upon me for support, I resolved to enter upon a life of industry; and notwithstanding the obstacle of color, and the consciousness of my lowly state, indulged in pleasant dreams of a good time coming, when the possession of some humble habitation, with a few surrounding acres, should reward my labors, and bring me the means of happiness and comfort.

From the time of my marriage to this day the love I have borne my wife has been sincere and unabated; and only those who have felt the glowing tenderness a father cherishes for his offspring, can appreciate my affection for the beloved children which have since been born to us. This much I deem appropriate and necessary to day, in order that those who read these pages, may comprehend the poignancy of those sufferings I have been doomed to bear.

Immediately upon our marriage we commenced house-keeping, in the old yellow building then standing at the southern extremity of Fort Edward village, and which has since been transformed into a modern mansion, and lately occupied by Captain Lathrop. It is known as the Fort House. In this building the courts were sometime held after the organization of the county. It was also occupied by Burgoyne in 1777, being situated near the old Fort on the left bank of the Hudson.

During the winter I was employed with others repairing the Champlain Canal, on that section over which William Van Nortwick was superintendent. David McEachron had the immediate charge of the men in whose company I labored. By the time the canal opened in the spring, I was enabled, from the savings of my wages, to purchase a pair of horses, and other things necessarily required in the business of navigation.

Having hired several efficient hands to assist me, I entered into contracts for the transportation of large rafts of timber from Lake Champlain to Troy. Dyer Beckwith and a Mr. Bartemy, of Whitehall, accompanied me on several trips. During the season I became perfectly familiar with the art and mysteries of rafting—a knowledge which afterwards enabled me to render profitable service to a worthy master, and to astonish the simple-witted lumbermen on the banks of the Bayou Boeuf.

In one of my voyages down Lake Champlain, I was induced to make a visit to Canada. Repairing to Montreal, I visited the cathedral and other places of interest in that city, from whence I continued my excursion to Kingston and other towns, obtaining a knowledge of localities, which was also of service to me afterwards, as will appear towards the close of this narrative.

Having completed my contracts on the canal satisfactorily to myself and to my employer, and not wishing to remain idle, now that the navigation of the canal was again suspended, I entered into another contract with Medad Gunn, to cut a large quantity of wood. In this business I was engaged during the winter of 1831-32.

With the return of spring, Anne and myself conceived the project of taking a farm in the neighborhood. I had been accustomed from earliest youth to agricultural labors, and it was an occupation congenial to my tastes. I accordingly entered into arrangements for a part of the old Alden farm, on which my father formerly resided. With one cow, one swine, a yoke of fine oxen I had lately purchased of Lewis Brown, in Hartford, and other personal property and effects, we proceeded to our new home in Kingsbury. That year I planted twenty-five acres of corn, sowed large fields of oats, and commenced farming...

Revue de presse

I could not believe that I had never heard of this book. It felt as important as Anne Frank's diary, only published nearly a hundred years before (Steve McQueen)

A moving, vital testament to one of slavery's "many thousands gone" who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation (Saturday Review)

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A deep and moving account 25 novembre 2013
Par John T C
Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave is a well-written and a deep and moving story not only of man's depravity in his treatment of others, but also of the inner strength we all have and means we can harness to get out of different predicaments without dehumanizing ourselves in the process. Like the story of Josef in Disciples of Fortune, Solomon Northrup's book gives an amazing of Solomon's trial and tribulations.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Epoustouflant ! Tremendous ! 18 mai 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Non, ce ne sont pas les esclaves d'"Autant emporte le vent". On savait que l'esclavage était dur, inhumain, mais là...là cette histoire vous prend aux tripes. Oui, des humains ont fait"ça" à leurs semblables. Sans compter la ségrégation qui a suivi et qui a eu tant de mal à s'effacer. IL FAUT LIRE CE LIVRE ! Je ne sais pas s'il a été traduit. Je n'ai pas vu le film encore, mais je pense que même ceux qui l'ont vu, devraient lire le livre.
C'est écrit dans un anglais un peu archaïque, mais on comprend très bien.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Harrowing and heartbreaking 13 mars 2014
Par Kate Chi
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Solomon Northup's harrowing account of being kidnapped and sold into slavery is gut-wrenching. He takes great pains to keep anger and bitterness to a minimum as he dreaded people not taking the memoir seriously. His restrained description - just a paragraph or two - of seeing his wife and children after twelve years is heartbreaking.

Look for a version with 1850's English. You'll get into the swing of the language, and the odd typo and sparse authenticity will leave you wondering if there's a God.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 12 years a slave 23 mars 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Excellent, fort, émouvant et sans fioritures. Le film de Steve McQueen lui rend un bel hommage en restant très proche.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 l'esclavage dans le sud des États Unis. 15 juin 2014
Par Cinelou
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Comment des hommes ont t ils pu accepter et acceptent ils encore, dans certains pays, de réduire d'autres hommes en esclavage. Ce livre montre bien la condition des esclaves noirs dans le sud des États Unis et la toute puissance de leur "propriétaire" avec son droit de vie et de mort sur eux. Il décrit aussi la vie courante dans ces plantations avec un rude labeur et la surveillance incessante de ce "bétail" corvéable à merci, par les hommes de main du planteur. Et que dire des hommes libres kidnappés et vendus comme esclaves !!!
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1.0 étoiles sur 5 J'ai fini par lire le livre sur mon Kindle 31 mai 2014
Par V. Lubin
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
J'ai voulu lire le livre en anglais et j'étais surprise de voir en ouvrant le livre, de trouver qu'il était en français, malgré le titre en anglais .....
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Twelve Years a Slave 24 avril 2014
Par janne
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Magnifique !! A ne pas manquer. Quelle injustice l'esclavage et d'ailleurs toute forme de discrimination. Je le recommande à toute personne qui ne considère pas que sa nationalité, sa couleur ou sa réligions lui donnent des droits de preférence....
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 L'esclavage 23 avril 2014
Par pmou
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Une occasion rare de s'informer sur ce que fut la condition des esclaves a cette époque. J'ai eu quelques problèmes avec un anglais quelquefois archaïque... mais la langue, elle aussi, évolue.
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Commentaires client les plus récents
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Un film essentiel
pour ne pas oublier cette époque vraiment pas lointaine (toujours actuelle dans certains pays, sous des formes diverses) de l'esclavagisme. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 9 jours par music fan
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Belle édition, beau format.
Je recommande ce livre, il est de beau format, ses caractères sont lisibles, Il y a des chapitres numérotés qui permettent de manière instantanée... Lire la suite
Publié il y a 5 mois par Jean
1.0 étoiles sur 5 ou est passé le livre ?
on me demande ce que j'ai pensé du livre... je ne l'ai pas reçu, voila tout est dit, heureusement je ne l'ai pas payé cher
Publié il y a 6 mois par Trompette Pauline
3.0 étoiles sur 5 nice strory
I enjoyed the book, it is easy and compelling.
I don't know if I'de go and see the film now.
thank you
Publié il y a 7 mois par Marianne Pooley
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A lire
Témoignage très intéressant, malgré quelques longueurs ici et là . A la fois journal intime et bon documentaire, selon les moments.
Publié il y a 9 mois par Amazon Customer
2.0 étoiles sur 5 est ce un livre?
Le texte n'est évidemment pas en cause mais le format est celui d'un opuscule long et étroit et la typographie est minuscule, rendant la lecture pénible.
Publié il y a 10 mois par jacques massias
1.0 étoiles sur 5 In english!!!
Cet ouvrage est en anglais et je ne l'avais vu ni lu sur le descriptif de le œuvre :-(
Nous l'offrirons au professeur d'anglais de mon fils ...;-)
Publié il y a 12 mois par DELANGLE Katy
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Really wonderful.
The best testimony on slavery i read since "Roots" !
You can feel how true it is.
Every body should read this book.
Publié il y a 12 mois par bacin
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