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Reviews

Listen: New Orleans Slave Auction

Contemporary

  • AudioFile Magazine Open or Close

    "It's a textured portrait that refuses to deal with the issue in absolutes. The author is articulate and proud, and Louis Gossett, Jr., carries this tone throughout his reading. Northrup writes in a straightforward style, letting facts and details speak more eloquently than emotion. Again, Gossett captures this feeling. But when the author does get emotional, Gossett infuses the words with a quiet, seething power."

    – AudioFile Magazine (2013)

  • Dr. John Hope Franklin Open or Close

    "I can never read his account of his days in slavery, of his independence of spirit, of his determination to be free… without believing that it would make a difference in today’s world if our contemporaries knew of such a man as Solomon Northup."

    – Dr. John Hope Franklin

    From letter written to his friend and fellow historian Dr. Sue Eakin. Dr. Franklin was Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, best selling author, past president of American Historical Association and recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

  • Saturday Review Open or Close

    "A moving, vital testament to one of slavery's 'many thousands gone' who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation. It is also a chilling insight into the 'peculiar institution.'"

    – Saturday Review

  • Gale Cengage Open or Close

    "[Solomon Northup's] narrative is considered by many critics to be a unique contribution to the body of slave narratives and it has been used as primary documentation for broad examinations of slavery and the South...."

    – Gale Cengage, Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism

  • Historic 1853 Reviews

  • Buffalo Express Open or Close

    "We hope it will be universally read. If we do not sadly err, it will prove of vast service in the great cause of freedom. If there are those who can peruse it unmoved, we pity them."

    – Buffalo Express

  • Detroit Tribune Open or Close

    "Next to Uncle Tom's Cabin, the extraordinary narrative of Solomon Northup is the most remarkable book that was ever issued from the American press."

    – Detroit Tribune
  • Frederick Douglass Open or Close

    "It is a strange history; its truth is far greater than fiction. Think of it. For thirty years a man, with all a man's hopes, fears and aspirations – with a wife and children who call him by the endearing names of husband and father – with a home, humble it may be, but still a home, beneath the shelter of whose roof none had a right to molest or make him afraid. Then for twelve years a thing, a chattel personal, classed with mules and horses, and treated with less consideration than they, torn from his home and family, and the free labor by which he earned their bread, and driven into unremitting, unrequited toil in a cotton field, under a burning Southern sun, by the lash of an inhuman master. It is horrible. It chills the blood to think that such are."

    – Frederick Douglass

  • New York Tribune Open or Close

    "The volume cannot fail to gain a wide circulation. It will be read extensively, both at the North and the South. "

    – New York Tribune (Horace Greeley)

  • Cincinnati Journal Open or Close

    "It is one of the most exciting narratives, full of thrilling incidents... with all the marks of truth. Such a tale is more powerful than any fiction which can be conceived and elaborated."

    – Cincinnati Journal

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe Open or Close

    "It is a singular coincidence, that Solomon Northup was carried to a plantation in the Red River country–that same region where the scene of Uncle Tom's captivity was laid–and his account of this plantation, and the mode of life there, and some incidents which he describes, form a striking parallel to that history."

    – Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Solomon’s story closely paralleled aspects of Stowe’s fictional account of Southern slavery and helped fuel the flames of abolitionism leading up to the Civil War. It is said that when President Lincoln first met Mrs. Stowe, he shook her hand, smiled and said, "So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."