Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Am I Not a Man? : The Dred Scott Story - Mark L. Shurtleff

Summary: An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."

Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.

Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men. Summary and cover photo from valorpublishinggroup.com

My Review: The elegant writing style of Mark Shurtleff brings the story of Dred Scott, to life. Dred Scott was a hardworking, kind and self-sacrificing slave living in the 1800's. He dreams of freedom and once he learns that it may be obtainable he chooses to go to court for it. His courage to fight for the freedom of his family paved the way for the abolishment of slavery.

This book toes the line between factual history and historical fiction. It grants the reader a look into the past by telling a story without merging (for the most part) into dry textbook style writing. There are times that the writing veers off to include the history of Roosevelt, Lincoln and even early Mormons and I found myself skimming in order to get back to the heart of the story. When the tale focused on the Scott and the Blow families, I became immersed in the book, many times my eyes filling with tears. Overall a well-written book, bringing emotion to history.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Sum it up: A powerful tale of a strong man whose fight for freedom played a vital role in the freeing of all slaves.

1 comment:

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks for this great review!


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