Children's LiteratureIn 1857 the United States Supreme Court, spearheaded by Chief Justice Roger Taney, rendered a verdict that has gone down in history as possibly its worst decision. The case involved the petition for freedom made by Dred Scott on behalf of himself and his wife and children. The court's ruling held that Scott, despite his having resided in free states during the time of his bondage, was not entitled to freedom. Even more striking were the words of Chief Justice Taney who wrote, "Negroes had no rights which any white man was bound to respect, and the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit." In the end, as the authors of this study of the Dred Scott decision note in their meticulously researched book, Taney was found in gross error by the forces of history. This illustrated book is part the series "Supreme Court Milestones" and is an excellent source of information about both the case it focuses on and that time period in American history. In describing this momentous, albeit ill-conceived verdict the authors of this well-written book provide a valuable resource to youngsters studying the era. 2005, Benchmark Books, Ages 12 up.
Greg M. Romaneck