Twelve Years a Slave (Paperback)
|Author: Solomon/ Berlin Northup|
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Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, and Alfre Woodard, this tie-in edition features a foreword from acclaimed director Steve McQueen
Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve 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 Louisiana cotton plantation.
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 as educated as Solomon Northup, or by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.
In his memoir COLORED PEOPLE, Henry Louis Gates describes the place where he grew up: Piedmont, West Virginia. It was a middle-class African American community, where people took an interest in each other and where the little details of everyday life passed into local history. Gates studied at Harvard University, and became one of the country's foremost scholars of African American history and literature. He first made his name at Cornell and later at Yale, editing collections of slave narratives, and writing THE SIGNIFYING MONKEY. He was asked by Harvard to establish a world-class Black Studies department, to which he recruited leading scholars. A prodigious scholar himself, Gates assembled THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE, and created an entirely new online reference work, an encyclopedia of Africana based on the ideas first proposed by W.E.B. Dubois. He also edited lesser-known works by obscure writers, including Hannah Craft's THE BONDWOMAN'S NARRATIVE, which he believes is the first novel by a female slave. Gates is known to the general public as the host of several popular PBS series, including a series in which he traveled to Africa, one on genealogy called AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, and, in 2007, FINDING OPRAH'S ROOTS, about the ancestry of TV personality Oprah Winfrey. In his personal life, Gates is a collector of memorabilia relating to the African American experience. In 2008, Henry Louis Gates was named editor-in-chief of The Root, an online magazine of the Washington Post Company.
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