The book "12 Years a Slave" is the ghostwritten true account of how a free black man living in New York was tricked into leaving his family, kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Solomon Northrup was living with his wife and three children working as a carpenter when he received an offer to join a traveling musical group in Washington, D.C.
Being an accomplished violinist, Solomon accepted the lucrative offer and, upon arriving in Washington, D.C., was drugged, beaten and sold into slavery, his free papers taken from him. Solomon spent the next 12 years in slavery in Louisiana. Throughout his captivity, Solomon bore witness to the harsh realities and cruelties of being a slave.
The book details accounts of how slaves were viciously attacked, whipped and punished for things that were not their fault, such as not completing a task when directed by a master to move on to something else. After suffering for several years, an abolitionist from Canada named Bass visited the plantation where Solomon was. Bass risked his life to get a letter back to Solomon's family in New York. A relative of the man who freed Solomon's father, Henry Northrup, traveled to Louisiana and helped Solomon regain his freedom.
Solomon attempted to find justice in the courts but because he was black and not allowed to speak on his own behalf, his kidnappers were never brought to justice. His book provides a detailed description of the time with very progressive insights for the time and from the perspective of a slave.