Harriet Tubman
A Biography
by James A. McGowan and William C. Kashatus
February 2011, 167pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34881-5
$39, £29, 33€, A56
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34882-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Harriet Tubman was unconditionally committed to the abolition of slavery by any means, resulting in her willingness to help radical abolitionist John Brown prepare for his Harpers Ferry raid. She was the first woman to lead a military expedition in an American war, and she reinvented herself as a women’s rights pioneer during the last part of her life.

This concise biography of Harriet Tubman, the African American abolitionist, explores her various roles as an Underground Railroad conductor, Civil War scout and nurse, and women's rights advocate.

The legendary Moses of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman was a fiery and tenacious abolitionist who organized and led African American military operations deep in the Confederacy. Harriet Tubman: A Biography relates the life story of this extraordinary woman, standing as a testament to her tenacity, drive, intelligence, and courage.

In telling the remarkable story of Tubman’s life, the biography examines her early years as Araminta Ross (her birth name), her escape from slavery, her activities as an Underground Railroad conductor, her involvement in the Civil War, and her role as a champion of women’s rights. The book places its heroine in the broad context of her time and the movements in which she was involved, and the narrative shifts between the contextual and the personal to give the reader a strong understanding of Tubman as a woman who was shaped by, and helped to shape, the time in which she lived.


  • Maps and detailed descriptions of the major Underground Railroad routes Tubman used in guiding fugitives to freedom
  • 24 primary source excerpts from newspapers, contemporary correspondence, and Tubman's military records
  • 13 photographs
The late James A. McGowan was editor of the Harriet Tubman Journal and author of several books, including Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett. His research on and contributions to African American history earned him the "Angel of Philadelphia Award," presented by the William Still Underground Railroad Foundation in 2003.

William C. Kashatus holds a doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania. A regular contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kashatus has written extensively on social justice issues. In 2002, he served as curator of Chester County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society's nationally-acclaimed exhibit, "Just Over the Line: Chester County and the Underground Railroad."


"a solid addition to any community library biography collection, enthusiastically recommended."—Midwest Book Review, April 1, 2011
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