Author and historian Scott Reynolds Nelson is the Legum Professor of History at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. His previous book on John Henry, Steel Drivin' Man, was awarded the Organization of American Historians Merle Curti Prize and an Anisfield-Wolf award. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Gr 4-8-This book is as much about a historian's quest for the truth as it is a biography of the well-known strong man. Nelson chronicles how he began to learn about African-American workers on the railroad in the South. He talks about his research process and delineates primary and secondary sources. Noting how dead ends occur during research, the author explains how he overcame roadblocks and took his search in other directions. The layout is attractive, with a sepia and beige background for the text and sepia-toned photographs to set the atmosphere for this history taking place during the Civil War years. The appendixes explain the many versions of the folk song and include a section about "How to Be a Historian" by Marc Aronson. This is an excellent example of how much detective work is needed for original research. It will fill a need in many collections.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.