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 pictures.