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Speak Right on

Though declared a piece of property by the US Supreme Court, Dred Scott insisted on telling his own story, on speaking freely. That was his freedom, and he didn't require a court to help him find it. Speak Right On explores the story of Dred Scott and the history of slavery that has changed our cultural landscape.From the eastern coast of Virginia to the farthest reaches of the US frontier, from house slave to the field hand to surgeon's assistant, from boy to man, from young love to family life, from enslavement to freedom, this is an epic story of dignity and determination. "He who does his best for his own time, lives for all times." (Igbo proverb)
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Dred Scott's legal challenge to slavery, reaching the Supreme Court and prompting the infamous ruling that led to civil war, made him the most famous slave in US history. This novel offers . . . an absorbing look at the relationships-voluntary and involuntary-as well as the nuances of slavery that provoke human emotions from nobility and loyalty to greed and selfishness.--Vanessa Bush, ABA Booklist One-fourth biography and three-fourths fiction, Neighbour takes the reader on an incredible journey of dignity, accomplishment, and bonds of the mind, spirit, and heart.--St. Louis Post-Dispatch Neighbour imagines Scott as a small, quick-witted, storytelling man who speaks in wise aphorisms: "When I think on running, it ain't 'cause I see myself as a slave-it's 'cause I see myself as a man." [T]he Scotts use the "once free, always free" doctrine . . . to launch his famous court battle, a legal dispute Neighbour treats with conscientious detail.--Publisher's Weekly [T]hree new novels demonstrate . . . how different, but more familiar, the early U.S. looks when it is reconfigured with slavery at its centre. In Speak Right On, Mary E. Neighbour builds a poignant, nuanced narrative around the life of Dred Scott. . . . Following Scott on his forced march across the South, Neighbour illuminates how slavery worked its way into every corner of human relations, constricting the lives of all those it touched . . . [and] offer[s] powerful renderings of the precariousness of black life in a country committed to slavery . . . concentrated in the life of Dred Scott.--Brian Kelly, The Socialist Review Magazine (London) I give it a "you gotta read this" nod. It's a fine piece of fiction from well-cared-for slaves' point of view that is reminiscent of Toni Morrison. . . . --Julie Failla Earhart, Armchair Interviews Neighbour's lyrical prose breathes life into this iconic figure of American history.--Ann Peacock, screenwriter: A Lesson Before Dying; The Chronicles of Narnia Armed with a few biographical facts but plenty of Southern (and African) history, Neighbour has sought to flesh out a portrait of the man behind the ruling and in the process has created a powerfully moving portrayal of the psychology of slavery. . . . [Th]e immorality of slavery wasn't about the quality of life, it was about the basic human craving for freedom, and it is this point that Neighbour brilliantly illustrates again and again-in often breathtakingly beautiful prose. . . . Speak Right On is a work of such power-at once disturbing and uplifting-that even if you are familiar with the story's outcome, you absolutely won't be able to put it down.--Kathryn Atwood, GoodReads Speak Right On by Mary E. Neighbour is one of the finest books ever written. . . . Dred and his family come to life on the pages of this book, and I desperately wanted to know what happened. The slang makes it more authentic but was easy to read. Mary Neighbour's plot flows smoothly; this would make an excellent movie. . . . This is a must read and I'm glad I did.--Debra Gaynor, Reader Views Mary Neighbour captures details that enables the reader to feel the emotions, hear the whip crack, and touch history as if you were there. . . . The tale will, if nothing else, open your eyes and perhaps offer a better understanding of what slavery was really like.--Sue Vogan, Book Pleasures Mary E. Neighbour has picked up where history leaves off . . . [with] such a skill for breathing life into characters, the reader sees through the eyes of Dred Scott as if reading from Scott's own journal. . . . The reader will be surprised to find this is Neighbour's debut novel, as the writing style is that of an accomplished author with years of experience. . . . Through her words, the reader becomes privy to the thoughts and emotions of an historical icon. History truly comes alive, thanks to Mary E. Neighbour.--Sabrina Williams, Front Street Reviews

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