12 Years A Slave
The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American living in New York in 1841, who was kidnapped, sold into slavery, and subjected to unimaginable degradation and abuse until his rescue 12 years later.
This moving and utterly brutal book is a harrowing account of his life in the sugar and cotton plantations of Louisiana, subject to varying degrees of savagery and abuse by a series of owners. Against all odds, Northup eventually manages to get word to his family - and the ensuing rescue from the drunken and sadistic Mr Epps and subsequent legal cases are no less shocking than the rest of the tale.
Northup's meticulous first-hand recordings of slave life, written in conjunction with a white lawyer called David Wilson, provide a true-life testament to tremendous courage and resolve in the face of unspeakable injustice.
Now a major Hollywood film, nominated for Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards, and directed by Steve McQueen - starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.
"It is better than the film ... A testament to the glory of the human spirit in triumph over the worst of human abuse." - Daily Telegraph