Reviews for Chasing the Frontier

Pen World

Deborah Basel, Contributing Editor

A family’s written history doesn’t just come from faceless ancestors but originates with real people who have concerns similar to our own.  One family’s history, told through letters, comes vibrantly to life in Diane McAdams Gladow’s book A Journey of Voices: Chasing the Frontier.  I have previously written about the legacy of written correspondence, and this book underscores the importance of letters in conveying the wisdom and experience of the past.

I was most fascinated by the distinctive voices in the letters.  These varied widely depending upon the education and region of the various writers, and I could hear their dialects as I read the actual copies and transcribed versions of the letters included in the book.  The handwriting varied from a hurriedly written scrawl from a soldier to the elegant Spencerian script of a well-educated family member, written on the letterhead of Hill’s Practical Business College.

I found this book absolutely delightful.  Gladow, who admits she did not recognize the significance of her trove of letters when she was young, devoted fifteen years to her research on the Jordan family.  She has distilled that research into a highly interesting and readable volume, and is truly a family “keeper.”

The Sabine Index

Daniel Jones, news editor

A Journey of Voices: Chasing the Frontier, a newly released book by Diane McAdams Gladow, is partially set in Bienville Parish, Louisiana and includes discussion of the battles of Mansfield and Sabine Crossing.  It provides a spotlight on northern Louisiana in the 1850s and 1860s.  Gladow’s great, great grandfather, William H. Jordan, and family were living in Bienville Parish when the Civil War broke out in 1861.  In the middle of the war he moved his family to Texas to get out of the way of the Union Army’s advance into Louisiana.  Half of the family stayed in Louisiana and wrote letters about what was happening there.  The letters covered the Sabine Parish battles and reconstruction after the war’s end.  Some 60 of those original letters are included in the book, which give a very accurate historical glimpse into the life and travels of a family as they experience the American frontier.


Reviews for Stewards of the Land

Dad of Divas Reviews

This was an intriguing book that explored the history of our nation in a deep and systematic way.  I was really impressed with the detail that the author provides in this book.  On top of this rich detail the book itself is filled with great first-hand resources that will draw you not only into the story itself, but into the time and era that is being shared with you as a reader.  This book draws you into the family life of the Crume family.  As you read this book you get a first-hand glimpse of the daily life and living conditions that a family like this has gone through and how it changed over 200 years.  This is the first book of its kind I’ve seen that truly follows one family through their real life struggles and it was such a refreshing read.  If you are a fan of historical nonfiction you will love this book and be completely drawn in from beginning to end.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry Jordan Williams October 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Have read your book many, times. Have bought 5 to give to the family. We are decendents of Samuel, Grey’s son. We still live on the “home place” in Brookhaven, Miss. and have used your book to start a family history story of our own. Thanks for hours of enjoyment and bringing the past to our present and future.

Diane Gladow November 12, 2011 at 12:10 am

Hi Sherry,
Glad you are enjoying the book. One of the reasons I wrote it was to inform the family of their history. It sounds like in your case I succeeded. Your very welcome! Diane Gladow

John Smith January 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Being a genealogist myself for over thirty years, I have come in contact with innumerable family histories, etc., but I can truly say yours stands out at the very top of a much crowded field. I love the way you write making it very personal instead of so statistical as most genealogies are. Let me say your book was excellent in every aspect. It should be on the reading list of all universities offering graduate programs in American or Southern history. Also, as I lived in Dallas for many years, all the Texas place names in your book brought back many memories.

Leave a Comment