Betsy Harvey Kraft (1937-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1937, in Indianapolis, IN; Education: DePauw University, B.A., 1959; Brown University, M.A., 1961.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Clarion Books, 215 Park Ave., New York, NY 10003.
Worked as children's book editor in New York, NY, for Macmillan, Bobbs-Merrill, and Dutton, 1962-68; writer. Director of education for energy trade association.
Coal, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1976.
Careers in the Energy Industry, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1977.
Oil and Natural Gas, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1978.
Mother Jones: One Woman's Fight for Labor, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Sensational Trials of the Twentieth Century, Scholastic, Inc. (New York, NY), 1998.
Theodore Roosevelt: Champion of the American Spirit, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Nonfiction author Betsy Harvey Kraft has translated her interest in the rise in industry during the early twentieth century—and the factors that powered that industry—into a series of books for young people. Stemming from her interest in the energy field are her first two books: Coal and Careers in the Energy Industry, both published by Franklin Watts. In a somewhat related book, Mother Jones: One Woman's Fight for Labor profiles the Irish-American immigrant who, in middle age, took on the battle against unscrupulous employers during the formative years of the U.S. labor movement. Praising the work, a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Kraft presents a balanced view of her subject, showing Jones' rise to power as a labor activist, but also profiling the woman's "blatant self-promotion and her scattered but costly defeats." Kraft's second biography, Theodore Roosevelt: Champion of the American Spirit, focuses on one of the era's most colorful, as well as powerful characters: the twenty-sixth president of the United States. Unlike most biographies, however, Kraft focuses on the human side of the president, weaving recollections of friends and family into a legacy that included a concern for conservation, strong-minded efforts to conform big business to the law of the land, and Roosevelt's receipt of a Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomatic work during the war between Russia and Japan. Praising Kraft's biography as "richly illustrated" with letters, news clippings, and cartoons, as well as with the late president's correspondence with his children, School Library Journal critic Ginny Gustin added that Theodore Roosevelt allows readers a "fascinating glimpse into the public and private life and the wide range of accomplishments of a major figure in American history." Writing in Booklist, Carolyn Phelan referred to Kraft's work as a "handsome biography," noting that it succeeds as "an informative and entertaining introduction to one of America's most dynamic presidents."
Kraft told Something about the Author: "The children's books I have published are the result of my interest in the energy field. I also enjoy the world of children's fiction, especially picture books and stories for the seven-to eleven-year-old age group. And, like every other author who has ever threaded paper into a typewriter, I am working on an adult novel–which happens to have one of the energy industries as a background."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, October 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Theodore Roosevelt: Champion of the American Spirit, p. 402.
Horn Book, November-December, 2003, Betty Carter, review of Theodore Roosevelt, p. 766.
Publishers Weekly, May 8, 1995, review of Mother Jones: One Woman's Fight for Labor, p. 297; June 23, 2003, review of Theodore Roosevelt, p. 69.
School Library Journal, December, 2003, Ginny Gustin, review of Theodore Roosevelt, p. 170.*
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