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I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6 - This fast-paced story chronicles the life of the enslaved man best known for his lawsuit to win his freedom. While Scott is mentioned in most elementary American history textbooks, the details of his 11-year legal struggle are largely ignored. While acknowledging that he was fairly well treated by his owners, the book reinforces the fact that slaves were forced to work against their will, with no pay, and often separated from family members. The extent to which they were considered property is evident in this novel as Scott is moved about the country and hired out to others at the whim of his owners. The narrative is written in the dialect Scott would have spoken, which may make it difficult reading for some children. Also, Moses fails to give a real sense of her subject; Scott never expresses emotion inwardly or outwardly. Still, fans of historical fiction written in journal format, made popular by the "Dear America" series (Scholastic), will enjoy this story, which will reach even more students if read aloud. The book contains a foreword written by Dred Scott's great-grandson. - Anne L. Tormohlen, Deerfield Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. Few people know why the Dred Scott decision is considered one of the causes of the Civil War. This fictionalized slave narrative humanizes the struggle of brave Dred Scott and supplies extensive historical notes that explain the complex legal facts. Scott, born a slave, traveled with his master to several northern states. Sixteen years later he discovered that, according to the Missouri Compromise, his slavery ended when he "stepped foot in free territory." Abolitionist lawyers helped him sue for freedom, and although he triumphed at first, his owners appealed and won, with the Supreme Court eventually deciding that slaves like Scott were not free--a notorious decision that polarized the country. The legal stuff is dense, but it's balanced somewhat by the personal anguish of slave family separation. The small, beautifully designed book, with spacious type, is illustrated with stirring full-page wood engravings, and the commentary and eloquent foreword by Scott's great-grandson are part of the story. An excellent curriculum addition, this book will resonate with adults as well as teens. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689859759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689859755
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is prefaced with a touching forward by a great-grandson [John Madison Jr.] of Dred Scott. He sets up the reader beautifully for Shelia Moses' attempt to humanize the man behind the landmark Supreme Court case of the 1850s which denied Scot's humanity and that of all blacks. I agreed with Mr. Madison's opening concern "How would Shelia Moses write about [Scott, his wife and children] and tell their story? It occurred to me later that how she did it was not as important as simply telling his story..."

This story is simply told, and short--eighty pages of fairly large type--and yet rich with detail and information. Those who aren't familiar with him will learn that Scott was a slave who was taken to several free-states by his master, an army doctor, in the 1840s. In the 1850s, sympathic lawyers argued in countless cases, leading all the way up to the Supreme Court, that Scott should be a free man. When Justice Taney and the Supreme Court ruled against Scott, the nation, already embroiled in the slavery debate, was further polarized as it raced toward war. Although told through the first-person voice, I found Dred Scott remained distant and unknown in this book. That's not exactly a criticism. Perhaps Ms. Moses trusts her readers enough to leave us some of the hard work of trying to understand another human being and make meaning of their life for ourselves. I deeply appreciated that she does not project herself into Scott or shackle him with modern sensibilities and agendas as so many writers of adolescent historical fiction do. Through Moses' pen the reader really does feel that are listening to Scott himself-who I imagine was an unassuming man not prone to deep, emotional disclosure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read to add to your other factual and fiction accounts when/if researching this era's history of the global slave trade.
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