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Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story Hardcover – November 3, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"There may be no better way to capture the dramatic story of the life of the remarkable slave, Dred Scott, than through a novel in the hands of a gifted and daring writer. More than 150 years after Taylor Blow freed him from bondage, Dred Scott has found that writer in Mark Shurtleff. After five years of deep and extensive research into Dred Scott s life and times, this distinguished lawyer s own sense of the hunger of all for justice gives Am I Not a Man gripping authenticity." ~ D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton --Am I Not A Man

"Am I Not A Man" is as majestic a work as the Mississippi River is to the landscape of this novel, and as empowering as the spirit of Dred Scott. Mark Shurtleff proves to be a master storyteller, weaving together an extraordinary tapestry of human, naturalistic, and historical events that reveal the providence of Dred Scott's life and its significance in birthing the nation that we live in today. You will not find the breadth and beauty of this story in the history books. It does not exist. Mark was uniquely gifted in delivering this remarkable story to the world. He exposed how the courage of one man, along with the support of other just and courageous men, overcame the scourge of injustice and altered the course of American history. It will renew your faith in the power of the human spirit." Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General of Georgia --Am I Not A Man

"Attorney General Shurtleff has used his exceptional gift for writing to bring to life the mind, heart, and passion of my great-great-grandparents in a moving and hard-to-put-down novel of great excellence. His ability to portray the dignity of all human beings through the characters is extraordinary. Mark's sincere love for these heroes manifests in the detail he exhibits as he personifies many heart-wrenching and joyful moments they experienced on their road to freedom. This story is a masterful achievement in allowing us to be there beyond the legal aspects and feel with, and for, the Scotts.....and you will!" Lynne M. Jackson, Great-great granddaughter of Dred & Harriet Scott, President and Founder of The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation --Am I not A Man --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Mark L. Shurtleff attended Brigham Young University, University of Utah College of Law, and University of San Diego School of Law. He began his Legal Career by serving four years in the United States Navy Judge Advocate Corps (JAG), then as a lawyer in Southern California. Mark then moved back to Utah and worked as a Deputy County Attorney and as Commissioner of Salt Lake County. He later became an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Utah. He was elected Attorney General in November 2000, and was re-elected in 2004 and 2008. He is the first Attorney General in Utah to win re-election for a third term. Mark is married with five children. He is an Eagle Scout and is fluent in Spanish. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 534 pages
  • Publisher: Valor Publishing; 1st edition (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935546007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935546009
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,921,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Laura Lewis on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"AM I NOT A MAN?" the first novel by Utah's Attorney General, Mark L. Shurtleff, is generating a substantial amount of buzz, and for good reason. The author's research about Dred Scott's life, and the era in which he lived, is phenomenal, particularly as it's observed through the prism of his battle to escape slavery using the American judicial system. The storyline is educational and tender, and the topics of the Constitutional guarantees of liberty are again passion-points in America. For these reasons and many others, "AM I NOT A MAN" is an important book that should be on our shopping lists this year.

Most school children have had some introduction to the man for whom the infamous Supreme Court ruling, "The Dred Scott Decision," is named, but Mark L. Shurtleff's exhaustive research transforms a vague history lesson into a powerful example of hope, courage, and dignity under fire, reminding us why that landmark Supreme Court case was required text. The highest court's ruling, "that a black man was so inferior that he had no rights a white man was bound to respect," chills us today, highlighting the dangerous consequences that occur when men bend the Constitution to achieve an agenda.

Dred Scott was born a slave named Sam Blow, but his life was a montage of extraordinary experiences, propelled by a mind and heart that could never be enslaved. He was connected to the most important events and people of his day, and his battle to hold the legal system's "feet" to the Constitutional "fire" drew the entire nation's attention. Underlying the precedent-setting legal chronicle is the simple, tender story of a man seeking what every person seeks--love, a family, self-determination.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Teri Rodeman on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mormonhermitmom on November 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I remember just a little bit about the Dred Scott case from my American History classes. The Supreme Court at the time ruled that a negro slave was essentially less than a human being. Unfortunately, the instructor just barrelled on to the American Civil war without getting into Dred Scott's story. Mr. Shurtleff goes much deeper, putting flesh and blood on the bones of an old court case, breathing the harrowing story back to life.

The story of Sam Blow, aka Dred Scott, would contain sufficient hardship, struggle and hard-earned reward all by itself. Shurtleff goes beyond Dred Scott's story in this new historic fiction novel. He reaches back into colonial times for the story of Peter Blow, the first of a family of Virginia tobacco planters that eventually succumb to the temptation of owning slaves as a source of labor. Shurtleff interweaves the lives of those who would help decide Dred's fate such as U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney, and the members of the Blow family who grew up regarding Dred as an older brother. Even Abraham Lincoln's story comes to light as Dred's lawsuit for his freedom stretches out for years.

Shurtleff asserts that without Dred Scott's legal fight and the damning opinion written by Judge Taney, Abraham Lincoln may not have had the political ammunition to win his race for the presidency of the United States. Shurtleff's case is certainly well constructed, as one would expect from a state attorney general. Shurtleff holds up Dred's fight for freedom in the courts as not just an individual's assertion of equality, but a turning point in the struggle of a whole people to gain recognition as human beings worthy of respect and equal treatment under the law.

Gripping and thoughtful, this is a good escape for history buffs.
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