Introduction

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Milton Meltzer 1915–

American historian, biographer, critic, editor, and novelist.

Meltzer's histories and biographies reflect his concern for past and present injustices and point to the need for the protection of human rights and the preservation of human dignity. He writes for young adults with the hope that his books, in addition to presenting pertinent historical facts, will move his readers to question themselves and society, in order to recognize injustice and help effect social change.

Meltzer is best known for portraying the struggles of minorities. His histories have helped fill a gap in high school and college textbooks that briefly mention or ignore the uglier aspects of minority problems in the United States and elsewhere. Critics have applauded Meltzer's books for shedding new light on the racism and oppression faced by American blacks, Jews, Indians, Chinese, and Hispanics.

Meltzer's biographies, particularly his Langston Hughes (Hughes was his personal friend and collaborator) and his Dorothea Lange: A Photographer's Life, are considered of special value. Meltzer feels that biographies can show young adults how individual men and women have aspired to and accomplished great things in spite of countless obstacles. Widely read and acclaimed by many critics, Meltzer is considered a committed and challenging writer.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 13-16, rev. ed. and Something about the Author, Vol. 1.)