Books by William Loren Katz

Released: May 1, 1999

Katz (Black Women of the Old West, 1995, etc.) takes fascinating material—the tale of free and escaped African-Americans who helped colonize the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys from the late 18th-century to the middle of the 19th century—and gives it a textbook treatment. In this gathering of details and events in the lives of real people who settled the area, he presents a full history of the contributions of determined people who established schools and churches, fought slavery, and won basic civil rights. The many black-and-white period drawings and photographs help establish the people in the narrative and the facts surrounding their lives. The facts alone, one after the other, add up to a cogent picture of the growing wealth and importance of African-Americans in US history, but the dry presentation may doom it to use solely for reference or as a supplement to more inviting works. (index, not seen, maps, charts, notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-14) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

A serviceable text and wonderful black-and-white photographs of 19th-century and early 20th century black women document all but forgotten players in the landscape of the western states and territories. Katz (Breaking the Chains, 1990, etc.) divides his book into two sections—``Pioneers of the Slave Era'' and ``Westward to Freedom''—presenting the accounts of some of the African-American women who fled to the free states before and after the Civil War. Some went West with families, others made the journey alone or as mail order brides. They were strong and determined, with a literacy rate that easily outstripped that of their white counterparts. The book is full of enthralling information, but it's difficult to read straight through. Quoting those who are not identified beyond their names, Katz jumps from person to person and place to place; many of the references remain unclear, e.g., ``Buffalo Soldiers'' are mentioned twice in photo captions, long before the term is used and partially defined in the text. In spite of these difficulties, this is recommended for its useful content and rare quotes and picturess. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >