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Stories of Scottsboro: Vintage Books Edition Kindle Edition

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Length: 498 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this affecting, rich history of the notorious "Scottsboro Boys" case, Harvard historian Goodman traces the perspectives of numerous participants: the black men accused of the gang rape of two white women; the politicians, gentry, editors and activists who became embroiled in the case. Goodman writes clear, detail-rich prose with rhythmic power, ably integrating a wealth of sources to tell of the 1931 incident in northern Alabama, the battles between black leaders and Communists over the leadership of the defense and the several subsequent travesties in court. Only when the case began to damage the reputation of Alabama, by 1937, did prosecutors compromise, dropping charges against four of the accused, while the other defendants remained in prison until the last man was finally freed in 1950. If Goodman's shifting weave occasionally drops a thread, his grasp of his subject is strong, and the recurring voices of the unjustly accused nine--"I want to be a man, and I want a chance in life. Something I have never had," wrote one--echo in our collective conscience. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Goodman (history, Harvard) has written a full and compelling account of the 1931 Scottsboro case involving nine black youths charged with raping two young white women on a freight train in Alabama. Eight of the defendants were sentenced to death after the first trial in Scottsboro, Alabama. In the next decade there would be seven retrials and two landmark Supreme Court decisions. A political deal was struck in the final trial, 1937-38, in which four defendants (later pardoned) got life imprisonment, and the charges against the others dropped. The case embroiled the nation for many years and still has resonance. The Communist Party quickly entered the defense and was often at odds with conservative black defenders. Recommended for libraries with Civil Rights and black history collections.
- Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5286 KB
  • Print Length: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 30, 2013)
  • Publication Date: October 30, 2013
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FUZQZY0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,097 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on October 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the more controversial events of the 1930's took place near Paint Rock, Alabama when nine Negro youths were arrested for the rape of two white women on a freight train. The nine were quickly tried and found guilty. Before the death penalty could be administered, appeals were filed with the aid of the US Communist Party. Thence ensued a lengthy series of trials and appeals that lasted from 1931 until well into the forties. It was a legal battle between White and Black as well as North and South with the battlefield always under the control of the White Southerners. Today it is an incident lergely forgotten by succeeding generations. Yet it is an excellent example of the the state of race relations in the South (not that there are too many surprises there), the role of moderate judges in reconciling racial injustice, the influence of the Communist/Socialist Parties in the 1930's as well as a number of other splinter stories. Therein lies the excellence of this book.
The author attempts to relate the story of the "Scottsboro Boys" through various perspectives without really indicating a particular bias. As the story goes on these perspectives seem to roll into one but even that one perspective takes a middle road approach to the story. For example, we are told of all the difficulties that the main characters suffer while imprisoned. Simultaneously we are made to understand that these same characters have serious flaws of their own.
The book follows the story of all the principals from their entry into the story until their death. There were few successes to come out of this event and the author lets us see the failures of the "Scottsboro Boys" as they each eventually realized their freedom.
This is an extremely readable work of non-fiction. It may seem occasionally that the story is stuck at one particular point but it generally moves along, giving the reader a rare insight into a very American event in history.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susan Simpson on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I started reading this book with very little knowledge about the Scottsboro incident. This book does an amazing job of portraying the different sides to this tragic story. The chapters are short enough for those of us with short attention spans. However, each chapter grips you with why those particular people feel and think the way they do.
A must read if you want to know what really happened, and more importantly why it happened.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Timothy B. Tyson on November 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
James Goodman is a consumate historian and storyteller. Stories of Scottsboro almost reinvents historical writing. Shifting perspectives give a full picture of these important events in America's racial history, and Goodman's unique literary style grips the reader and will not let go. Solid, reliable history that reads like a dream.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I had to read this for a school assignment and wasn't particularly looking forward to it, but I am so glad I did. This book is amazing. It chronicles the famous Scottsboro trial, from the initial incident all the way through to many years after the trial. The book is written very convincingly in that it tries to present the different perspectives of relevant parties/persons. This made me feel like Goodman wasn't trying to push his own agenda but was instead simply presenting as best he could an accurate historical account of the facts surrounding Scottsboro. The book itself is written like a story, but you can tell from its presentation that the "story" was very historically driven and all facts mentioned were well-documented. A fascinating account of Scottsboro. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about it. I'm not sure a better resource exists on this topic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jim Goodman makes a beautiful mosaic composed of the the many views on the Scottsboro trials. From the way it's written, you lose fact that it's a work of nonfiction. Truly makes you think about the strides we've made in justice over the past sixty or so years. Hopefully, society has reached the point were it can no longer legally lynch an individual.
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