Insider’s View from Marlene Targ Brill

Domenica invited me to write about my books in the new Fall 2009 TFCB series The Decades of Twentieth-Century America. How satisfying to write a book that requires research into what makes this nation tick! How special to multiply this reward by five. That is how I felt writing five books in the decades series. I got to play detective, delving into the 1900s, 1910s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

My favorite decade? Difficult to say. Each brought its own delights.

Carrie_Chapman_Catt But I particularly enjoyed investigating events leading up to passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, in 1920 and meeting such strong women as Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt (left) in America in the 1910s.

marshall taylor And I loved learning more about Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor, the black Lance Armstrong of 1900, who overcame Jim Crow racial prejudice. What a great role model Taylor is—for kids and for today’s sports figures. He was the subject of a Trailblazer biography I wrote recently for TFCB called Marshall “Major” Taylor: World Champion Bicyclist.

Annie_Taylor And what about Annie Edson Taylor (below) who went over Niagara Falls in 1901 strapped inside an oak container (America in the 1900s)? Who says history is boring? You can find out more tidbits from these and my other titles at my website.

(Public domaine photos: Carrie Chapman Catt, Library of Congress; Annie Edson Taylor, Francis J. Petrie Photograph Collection)