Friday, October 30, 2009

Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story by Mark L. Shurtleff

Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story by Mark L. Shurtleff

This awesome debut by Mark Shurtleff, Utah's Attorney General, goes deep into telling the story of Dred Scott, the little 5'4" giant of a man. Dred was born Sam Blow on a Virginia Plantation, but when his brother dies, he takes on his name. Dred, even though he is a slave and is treated very badly at times, he treats others with a humbling dignity missing today. Early in his young life, he is asked of his owner, a doctor, to go out in the middle of a river, to stake a squatter's claim and he almost drowns, but has a total change in his life that changes him for good. During his early years, he was friends with Nat Turner, but because of his odd behavior, he didn't stay friends long and Nat ended by taking another path than Dred, as Dred was a very spiritual man, could quote scripture beter than some who could read. When Dred and a former owner were down on a riverbank, he overheard people shouting to Winfield Scott, Commander, "Great Scott." Dred liked the sound of the words and the man, so from then on, he went as Dred Scott.

When the love of his early life, Sarah, gets sold at an auction, it totally devastates him, but later, he does find the woman who loves him the way a wife should and that is Harriet, who was raised on a plantation and treated as one of the family. She and Dred had two girls, Eliza, known as Gypsy Girl and Lizzie. When Dr. Emerson, who Dred worked for, died, his widow took him to court. She had mistreated him terribly, much worse than her husband had. Dred had moved from a slave state to a free state with Dr. Em erson, so if you return to a slave state, you were considered free as the saying went "Once Free, Always Free." When Dred won his ca se in the lower courts, he was happy, but the decision was reversed, so he decided to sue at the highest level The Supreme Court and lost. It was a landmark case, and was the reason Abraham Lincoln was our 16th President, that if not for Dred Scott, Abraham Lincoln would not have been our President.

One of the things I really liked about this moving story was the bantering back and forth between Jefferson and Madison. And, when Dred gets so excited when he learns to "spell" his name in Morse Code. What an experience that must've been for him!!! Since I've had my ARC for awhile and have discussed this book and Dred Scott with friends and family, it has surprised me how many people do not know much about our Country and its history. And, for this, I'm sad. For those who read my review who have never heard of Dred Scott or his case, please do yourself a HUGE favor and read this most important story. I knew about Dred Scott, but learned so much and came away touched to have learned what a great man he was. No man should be abused the way he and hundreds of thousands of blacks were treated. We are all created by God as equal men and women, regardless of color. Mark, hats off to you!!!

Forever Friends Rating A HUGE 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

Valor Publishing Group
Pub. Date: 3 November 2009
ISBN: 978-1-835546-00-9


Jewel's Gems said...

Great review. I really enjoyed this book too. Dred Scott was definitely someone to look up to.

Candace E. Salima said...

Thanks for this awesome review, Teri. And yes, I couldn't agree more, Dred Scott is someone that simply everyone must become familiar with. Mark did do a fantastic job.

Tristi said...

Thanks for your review, Teri - and five stars - wow!!