"The film 12 Years a Slave made Solomon Northup, a freeborn black from New York, a household name, but his horrific case was not unique. In Solomon Northup’s Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens Before the Civil War, David Fiske reminds readers of similar cases and of discrimination against blacks in New York, where they were excluded from jury and militia duty and were required to own property in order to vote."
"A thoroughly researched account of other free blacks who were also kidnappped and sold into slavery. These crimes were profitable before the Civil War and an example of how difficult it was for even free blacks to enjoy their liberty."
"David Fiske is a historian with astounding research skills, honed by years of tracking down every available clue about the legendary author of Twelve Years a Slave. Now, in his latest book, Solomon Northup’s Kindred, Fiske applies those same skills to the wider phenomenon of kidnapping free blacks into slavery before the Civil War. The result is an illuminating archive of victims’ names and stories collectively revealing that stealing men, women, and children and selling them into bondage was anything but an anomalous crime, but one inexorably linked to a system in which African Americans had no say and in which the financial incentives of holding them as property compromised law and lawless alike. Fiske’s efforts to document these victims and the crimes that robbed them of their families and freedom are heroic indeed and should be applauded."
"David Fiske has scoured the pages of history so that we might know, and remember, those who fell victim to one of its cruelest crimes. Following every available lead, it seems, from clues buried deep to those hidden in plain sight, he has expanded his search well beyond Solomon Northup, the free black New Yorker who lived to tell of his kidnapping and harrowing Twelve Years a Slave, to recover as many as possible who, once coaxed or snatched into bondage, never were heard of again. The result is an indispensible, impeccably researched guide that lays bare the human costs of an antebellum economy that incentivized the greedy and conniving to violate, repeatedly, the porous boundaries between law and profit, liberty and chains."
"David Fiske, in encyclopedic fashion, recreates the history of free Black citizens of the United States and the north who were kidnapped and sold into slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Many were not rescued at the time and were victimized again when their stories were erased from the historical record. With this book Fiske is able to finally provide them with some measure of justice."
"Concise yet capacious, Solomon Northup’s Kindred chillingly shows the gravitational pull of slavery on free people of African descent through the ghastly business of selling free black people into slavery. As Fiske shows, Northup’s famous case told in Twelve Years a Slave was part of a horrific process that terrorized every African American family in the antebellum republic."