In 1841, Solomon Northup was a free man living in Saratoga Springs, New York, making a living as a violinist and spending his spare time with his wife and three young children. Lured to Washington, DC, with the promise of a generous sum of money, Northup finds himself drugged, beaten, and sold before he can even begin to comprehend the tragic turn his life has taken. Twelve torturous years of slavery follow, with Northup passed from owner to owner, plantation to plantation, until his eventual rescue in 1853. Following his return to New York, Northup wrote and published this extraordinary book, one of the few accounts of American slavery written from the perspective of a man who had been free before being enslaved.
Lost for nearly a century, Twelve Years a Slave offers unprecedented details of the slave markets of Washington, DC, and describes the excruciating life on Southern cotton plantations. In its time, Twelve Years a Slave was a bestseller and ignited a national dialogue on slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. Northup’s unsparing portrayal of the life of a slave captured minds and eventually divided a nation.
Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.