Contributed by JWPollack, co-founder.
The Oscar nominations for this year include movies inspired by literary works including “12 Years a Slave,” “Philomena,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Captain Philllip’s.” My favorite, “12 Years a Slave" is based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup.
Admittedly some of the history lessons I remember best are those obtained from fiction. While fiction has the power to influence how we think about history and humanity, first hand account are the most revealing. As I read Twelve Years a Slave, I was stunned. I had learned about it, discussed it and studied it but, nothing prepared me for this. Essentially, I knew nothing about the breadth of injustice and shame America inflicted on its residents. Just as seeing Shoah is a film viewed at religious schools, reading this book – not just seeing this film – really should be an obligation of every American. How is it possible that a freeborn man, married with a family, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the shadow of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
When reading this book, there will be times you want to shut it and in so doing shut it out. This book was a best seller in its day and then fell into obscurity only to be found again. I urge you to discover it and take a few moments to read about Mr. Northrup’s humanity when there seemed to be none.
"Philomena " based on The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith
"The Wolf of Wall Street" based on The Wolf of Wall Street and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street both written by Jordan Belfort
Captain Phillips based on A Captain’s Duty by Richard Phillips