This account of Dred Scott's eleven year effort to win freedom for himself and his family is presented chronologically in seven chapters; the first chapter provides an overview of slavery in America that begins with the Jamestown, Virginia settlement in 1606 and finishes in the late 1780's. Dred Scott was born shortly thereafter, sometime between 1795 and 1805, and even though the trend in the country's mood and resulting legislation seemed to indicate slavery was on its way out, subsequent economic and accompanying socio-political changes brought about a significant reversal. Other slaves before Scott had successfully sued for freedom on the basis of having been taken to live in non-slavery states by their masters, but the turning tide caught Dred Scott's family and seemingly swept away their hopes of legal emancipation when the Supreme Court's 1857 decision nullified the concept of "once free, forever free." As part of the "Great Supreme Court Decisions" series, the narrative consistently recounts the politics and legislation of the time; the case is filled with ironies of legal technicality about ownership and citizenship status, but also illustrates the larger forces at work that eventually brought about the Civil War. The actual story of Dred Scott and his family is told from a distant third person perspective and is almost lost in the larger issues. Although the text's treatment is probably appropriate to the complexity of the issues at hand, this would be a tough sell as supplemental reading for all but the most dedicated students. Illustrations are a combination of photos, maps, and images of primary documents which vary widely in quality and their ability to enhanceunderstanding of the text. Frustratingly, the picture credits lack sufficient information for the reader to easily find them for viewing outside the text. Additional materials include a glossary, timeline and chronology, bibliography, index, and author bio.