Scottsboro [NOOK Book]


A powerful novel about race, class, sex, and a lie that refused to die.

Alabama, 1931. A posse stops a freight train and arrests nine black youths. Their crime: fighting with white boys. Then two white girls emerge from another freight car, and fast as anyone can say Jim Crow, the cry of rape goes up. One of the girls sticks to her story. The other changes her tune, again and again. A young journalist, whose only connection to the incident is her overheated social conscience, fights to save the nine youths from ...
See more details below

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99 price
(Save 26%)$14.95 List Price


A powerful novel about race, class, sex, and a lie that refused to die.

Alabama, 1931. A posse stops a freight train and arrests nine black youths. Their crime: fighting with white boys. Then two white girls emerge from another freight car, and fast as anyone can say Jim Crow, the cry of rape goes up. One of the girls sticks to her story. The other changes her tune, again and again. A young journalist, whose only connection to the incident is her overheated social conscience, fights to save the nine youths from the electric chair, redeem the girl who repents her lie, and make amends for her own past. Intertwining historical actors and fictional characters, stirring racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism into an explosive brew, Scottsboro is a novel of a shocking injustice that convulsed the nation and reverberated around the world, destroyed lives, forged careers, and brought out the worst and the best in the men and women who fought for the cause.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set in 1931's Jim Crow South, Feldman's dramatization of the infamous Scottsboro case makes for bleak, if familiar, reading. Alice Whittier, an ambitious, crusading journalist at the left-wing New York City publication The New Order, covers the arrest of nine young African-American men in Scottsboro, Ala., for the alleged rapes of two white prostitutes. Four days later, the Alabama courts have tried and sentenced eight to die. With a keen sense of drama, Feldman follows the story as worldwide indignation grows, and the case bogs down in appeals and retrials before an eventual hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court. Through it all, Alice, the only woman journalist on the story, reports the events in gruesome detail, conducts her trust-funded life and quiets some rattling family skeletons. She emerges as a satisfyingly fleshed-out character, as does syphilitic, guilt-ridden accuser Ruby Bates. But the best thing about the novel is the detailed, matter-of-fact way in which it recreates Alice and Ruby's milieus-both of which are removed, in very different ways, from the world of the accused. What emerges is a raw sense of alienation and collision, with the novel's true protagonists mostly offscreen. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Feldman's latest (after The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank) might offer the most honest portrayal of the events surrounding the 1931 alleged rape of two white women by nine young black men on a train. Told from the perspective of Alice Whittier, a white female journalist from New York, the story not only offers a historical replication of the Scottsboro youth's imprisonment and unjust trials but also reveals the other players-the American Communist Party, attorneys, and journalists-who sought to gain from the acquittal or execution of the young men. Especially gripping is the painted humanity of Ruby Bates, the complainant who later recanted then reaffirmed her story. In conducting research for her articles, Whittier feels some pity for Ruby, who is as downtrodden as the accused, but is dejected when she realizes that she, too, seeks to exploit innocent men. This novel is not especially poetic, but Feldman's simple, eloquent phrases and realistic representation of the human condition make her book gripping and demonstrate a masterful control. Recommended for all libraries.
—Ashanti White

School Library Journal

Adult/High School

This fictional account of the Scottsboro case, in which nine black teenagers were accused of the rape of two white women, is told primarily from the point of view of journalist Alice Whittier, realistically imagined by the author. The facts of the case are true: eight of the young men were accused, tried, and sentenced to death in an Alabama court in 1931. There were many appeals, trials, mistrials, and recantations by one of the women while the accused languished for years on death row before their final acquittal by the Supreme Court. Alice Whittier reports on the events throughout the long legal ordeal. She interviews many of the participants, befriends one of the women, and learns from Ruby that she lied about the incident for fear of being charged with hoboing and prostitution. First-person accounts by Ruby, whose insecurity and low self-esteem are palpable, are interspersed with Alice's own story as an outwardly aggressive reporter plagued by her own lack of self-confidence and by middle-class guilt. The horrifying and irrational prejudices of the times-racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism-are clearly portrayed in a gripping narrative that will interest and appall students of social history, and lovers of courtroom drama will be fascinated by the legal machinations. Helpful appendixes sort out fact from fiction and list sources of interest, including autobiographies of three of the young men involved.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Boston Sunday Globe
“The Scottsboro case is the novel’s core . . . all distilled, with great subtlety and wit, into a story worth retelling and remembering.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“With a pure sense of storytelling, a deft hand at characterization and a stylish and sensitive use of language, Feldman has created another affecting portrait of the past.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Inspired and inspiring. . . . Ruby is a gem of a character, and belongs with the best of William Faulkner’s, or Alice Walker’s, women.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393068399
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/17/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,297,820
  • File size: 522 KB

Meet the Author

Ellen Feldman is the author of the novels Lucy and The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank. She writes for the American Heritage Web site and is a sought-after speaker. She lives in New York.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2008

    Awesome and Heartrendering

    This story tugs at heart strings - the struggle for equality and the need for understanding of lower classes. The story is brought to life in this novel and makes tears and anger easy to come by if the reader has any feelings for the treatment of fellow man.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    Interesting Read!

    When Alice Whittier, a journalist for a left-wing publication in New York City, first hears of the arrest of nine young black men for the rape of two white women in Alabama, she is skeptical of the claims made by Ruby Bates and Victoria Price. But it is 1931 and Jim Crow laws are still going strong south of the Mason-Dixon line. While it soon becomes apparent that the 'Scottosboro Boys,' as the young men are dubbed, are innocent of the crime they are said to have committed, they are consecutively delcared guilty by juries full of all-white men. Even when New York City's Sam Leibowitz gets involved and Ruby starts telling the truth, it seems as though the Scottsboro Boys are doomed to head to the electric chair. Ellen Feldman's fictionalized account of the Scottsboro case is extremely rich in history and detail. It's obvious that she has taken painstaking care when conducting her research and her characterization is spot on. You can't help but sympathesize with Ruby Bates for all that she has been through and you soon discover that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Alice Whittier and her ambitions. I had never heard of the Scottsboro Boys prior to reading Scottsboro, so I found this book particularly interesting. Feldman writes in such a way that you learn much about the trial and the time period in which it was set, but it's not like I was reading a dry account of the events Feldman brings the case and the people involved to life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)