Twelve Years a Slave Enhanced Edition by Dr. Sue Eakin Based on a Lifetime Project. New Info, Images, Maps (Anglais) Broché – 6 septembre 2013
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As such this book is a phenomenal tool for people who really want to know what slavery was some 20 to 10 years before the Civil War in the American tradition. It provides us with a detailed description of the treatment, exploitation and management of slaves in the South, even if it only concerns the American side of Louisiana forty years after the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon and France. What’s more it provides us with a panorama of what the Northern states and their citizens could know about the practice of this peculiar institution in the Southern States since this book was published in 1853 and was quite successful at the time.Lire la suite ›
Un très bon livre, vraiment!
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
The Northup book itself is, of course, marvelous. As slave stories go, this one is, in my view, without peer. Northup's s captivating tale -- which has gained attention because of the movie that shares the book's title -- is told in exacting detail with an easy prose. He sets the stage masterfully, describing people and places before proceeding into the narrative. Unlike works of fiction, this book is so compelling because, by all accounts, it is true. There is no polemical axe to grind, as with Uncle Tom (a novel at one point wryly referenced by Northup). Here you see both the brutality of slavery and the moments of kindness by slaves and even some slave owners. Solomon tells the story with clarity and intelligence.
Because Twelve Years a Slave is in the public domain, I initially searched for free copies elsewhere. Unfortunately, the free versions I found on other sites were pretty badly formatted, so spending a dollar for a polished version on Amazon proved worthwhile. That said, while most of the Amazon versions are while noticeably cleaner than the free site versions, nearly all of the Amazon entries are barebones versions with no extra material, and most of their introductions, such as they are, are done by novelists or movie producers. That's fine, but at the end of the day they're not historians.
Sue Eakin is. As a scholar who devoted her life to Northup's story, she fills in the gaps in a way that is honest and easy to follow. She traces Northup's life before the book, brings outside contemporary sources into the picture, and, most interestingly, discusses the mystery behind Northup's life after the book. All of this is done via footnotes and appendices, meaning that they are there if you want them but don't interfere with the book proper. As if that's not enough, the e-book has a website full of great pictures of everything from Epps's house to the ship's manifest that has Northup's slave name on it.
It's hard to go wrong with this edition, especially given that it is currently priced the same as the other, far more basic, editions on Amazon. Highly recommended.
As for the original book itself, it is fascinating. It is an easy read that has a "hook" in every chapter.
The "what happened after" is equally interesting and gives a more objective view of the man and his times. When I finished the well written book I took a tour of all the many detailed footnotes. What a collection of information! There is a whole history of lots of topics that are an education unto themselves in footnotes containing primary source material I would not find anywhere else! If there was an index to footnotes I would read them by topic.
These detailed footnotes might be published as daily readings in a desk calendar to cover them and do them justice.
I think this book holds the possibility of helping people like myself who have lived in white northern America to be both educated and sensitized to reactions of the black community to things we do not "get" because we have no shared experiences with those who have face discrimination in ways we have never experienced and therefore do not understand. The "What Happened After" section tells us that the kidnappers where found, arrested, charged and after extended delays in the court system were never sentenced for the cruel injustice of kidnapping a freeman. This tells me a good deal about things I was not much aware of from the point of view of Solomon Northup and those who have suffered similar injustices through a court system not up to doing justice as common sense would judge it should be done. It is the story after the story that was most helpful to me in framing what the issue are in my time and place. But I would need "the story" first to get the emotion and feeling that vividly communicated the events of injustice given in the well written narrative.