Author Katie Hickman on the women of the American West

A person poses next to a photo of a book cover
In her new book “Brave Hearted,” Katie Hickman tells the stories of the women who went West to settle the new frontier – and the stories of the women who were already there.
Left photo by Neil Bennett; right photo courtesy of Spiegel & Grau

The American West wouldn’t have been settled without the women who braved the frontier. Katie Hickman’s new history, “Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West” uncovers their stories.

But she doesn’t stop at the white women settlers who traveled by wagon or on foot. Drawing on diaries, letters and memoirs, she also brings to life Black enslaved women who went west with their master’s families, Chinese women who were brought by sex traffickers to the West Coast, and the Native American women who called the West home long before any settlers arrived.

Hickman paints colorful and dramatic accounts of these women’s lives with a novelist’s eye for detail.

This week, on Big Books and Bold Ideas, she talked about her research with host Kerri Miller, shared some of the stories she uncovered and offered important correctives about what really happened during the largest mass migration in American history.


To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. 

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