Synopses & Reviews
The first volume of Louis R. Harlan's biography of Booker T. Washington was published to wide acclaim and won the 1973 Bancroft Prize. This, the second volume, completes one of the most significant biographies of this generation.
Booker T. Washington was the most powerful black American of his time, and here he is captured at his zenith. Harlan reveals Washington's complex personality--in sharp contrast to his public demeanor, he was a ruthless power borker whose nod or frown could determine the careers of blacks in politics, education, and business.
Harlan chronicles the challenge Washington faced from W.E.B. Du Bois and other blacks, and shows how growing opposition forced him to change his methods of leadership just before his death in 1915.
Also available: Volume 1, $10.95k, 501915-6, 394 pp., plates
"One of the most important biographies of our time....With this long-awaited second (and final) volume...Harlan has written the definitive biography of Booker T. Washington....He brings to life a man of enormous complexity, an enigmatic figure who offends our era's sensibilities and refuses to meet our preconceived notions of how a great leader should behave."--Washington Post Book World
"From every standpoint a tour de force....Harlan's study of the Wizard of Tuskegee is in every respect definitive--a model of the demanding art of biography."--American Historical Review
"A major contribution to black history."--Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"A superb work of scholarship....To meet the challenge of a subject as complex, difficult and treacherous as Washington calls for a biographical talent of a high order. Mr. Harlan's writing displays all the necessary skills and art...[He] deserves honors for his remarkable achievement."--C. Vann Woodward, The New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent biography....[Harlan] throws into relief the man, his era--and the larger problem of pragmatic temporizing in the face of racial injustice."--Newsweek
"The best biography of an Afro-American....Combining sympathy and critical detachment with a sure eye for complexity and ambiguity, Harlan has used his unparalleled knowledge of the Washington papers to dismantle the wall of circumlocution, indirection, and masked purpose with which Washington surrounded himself and to probe deeply the multiple facets of his very active life."--Journal of Southern History
"Harlan does a masterful job of unmasking his complex subject within the context of the social forces that shaped him."--Journal of American History
"A brilliant completion of what will stand as the definitive biography of Booker T. Washington."--Herbert Shapiro, University of Cincinnati
This book begins in 1901, when Booker T. Washington at the age of forty-five was approaching the zenith of his fame and influence, and ends with his death in 1915. It is a biographical study in the sense that its focus is on the complex, enigmatic figure of Washington, the most powerful black minority-group boss of his time.
About the Author
Susana Rotker is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers University. Helen Lanes many award-winning translations include Tomas Eloy Martinezs bestseller Santa Evita, Mario Vargas Llosas memoirs, and several volumes of Octavio Pazs essays.