Nick Kotz


As a reporter for the Washington Post and the Des Moines Register, and in six pathbreaking books, Nick Kotz won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, the National Magazine Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and eight other renowned prizes. Among his works are exposés of government corruption and studies of national defense, civil rights, social, justice, and labor unions.

Historians also recently praised The Harness Maker’s Dream for its eloquent depiction of early Jewish immigrants’ lives in Texas, and their later significant impacts on society, culture, and the economy. It received a 2015 San Antonio Conservation Society Publication Award and was a Texas Institute of Letters finalist for the Carr P. Collins Award for nonfiction.

A Marine Corps veteran, educated at Dartmouth College and the London School of Economics, Kotz and his wife, author Mary Lynn Kotz, live on a cattle farm in Broad Run, Virginia.

Washington Post Quotes Judgement Days The questions we should be asking about ‘Selma’

imrs.phpBut if Johnson did not order the tapes be sent to Coretta King, Nick Kotz argues in “Judgement Days,” his sharp and illuminating book about the Johnson-King relationship, that Johnson was not ordering Hoover to stand down his long-term campaign against King, either. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, “One of Johnson’s first calls after returning from Dallas was to J. Edgar Hoover [his long-time neighbor]. ‘You’re more than the head of the bureau,’ Johnson told Hoover. ‘You’re my brother and personal friend.’” Kotz explains. “Hoover answered Johnson’s flattery with a flurry of activity” focused at furthering his surveillance of King and keeping Johnson apprised of the results.

Johnson brokered a sit-down between King and Hoover after Hoover, incensed by King’s Nobel Peace Prize, started attacking King in the press, and King privately accused Hoover of indifference to crime against Southern African Americans and publicly issued a press release suggesting that Hoover ” apparently has faltered under the awesome burden, complexities and responsibilities of his office,” Kotz explains. But the Hoover-King meeting seemed more aimed at healing a public breach than providing Hoover with real accountability and new orders. And rather than confirming that Johnson would not tolerate attacks on King, King perceived the meeting as proof that President Johnson “had not come to his defense,” Kotz writes.

In fact, Kotz suggests, Deke DeLoach, Hoover’s liaison to the White House, repeatedly interpreted his meetings with Johnson aides and Johnson himself to conclude that Hoover could exercise discretion in planting reports about King. Some of Johnson’s calculation was due to what Kotz describes as a “cautious, tacit accomodation with Hoover: the FBI director would carry out extraordinary assignments for Johnson, including the covert spying campaign at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, and in return Johnson would not interfere with Hoover’s pursuit of his own special interests.” And some of it was due to the fact that “Johnson was also irritated by King’s constant maneuvering to seize the public spotlight and force his hand.”

January 5

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Nick Kotz Judgement Days Quoted in Huffington Post Blog

FILE PHOTO:  David Oyelowo To Play Martin Luther King Jr. In Biopic RoleAside from the actual audio tapes, photos, etc., from the Presidential Library of President Lyndon Johnson, the seminal book on Selma and the respective roles of Dr. King and President Johnson preceding and during the events presumably depicted in the movie is Judgement Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Laws That Changed America by Nick Kotz.


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Nick Kotz to Appear on Alabama Public Television Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement.

PROJECT-C-LOGONovember 13, 11:00 AM & 1 PM EST
Nick Kotz
will appear on Alabama Public Television’s: Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement.

About Project C
Project C: Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement is a three-year series of electronic field trips taking place throughout the civil rights fiftieth anniversary years of 2013-2015. Project C will focus on the role of citizenship in a democracy through the study of historical events and examine the past to teach the importance of civic engagement in support of a humane, civil and just society.
Project C Website:
Link to YouTube Promo:
More Project C information (PDF)

‘The Harness Maker’s Dream:’ The Unlikely Ranch King of Texas


By Nick Kotz

In the late 1800s, Nathan Kallison escaped oppression in Ukraine and found refuge in Texas, where he became one of the top cowboys around.

In the dark of night, Nathan Kallison embraced his widowed mother and, for the last time, slipped away from his village in Czarist Russia. At seventeen, he was heading out alone—first by foot, then oxcart, and finally on a train over 1,300 miles of hostile land—to board a ship in the German port of Bremen. That journey, begun in 1890, would take him over an ocean and halfway across another continent to a future he never could have imagined.

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NAR Event: Jewish Immigrants in America – Nick Kotz Moderator

MAY 14, 2014  Jewish Immigrants in America.  Nick Kotz moderates a panel with Sanford Ungar and Steve Roberts:

Panelists discuss the lessons they learned from studying the lives of their Jewish ancestors who immigrated to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. They described their research and spoke about how contemporary immigrant experiences differ from those of their family members. This event was hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Watch now:


A Nation of Immigrants – National Archives

The National Archives Presents:

archives-logo A Nation of Immigrants: How They Shaped America (This program is presented in partnership with the Jewish  Historical Society of Greater Washington—in celebration of Jewish History Month)  Location:  William G. McGowan Theater; National Archives; 7th St. and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC  20408.

Panelists: Nick Kotz (The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas); Steve Roberts (From Every End of the Earth: 13 families and the New Lives They Made in America), and Sanford J. Ungar (Fresh Blood: The New American Immigrants) Details: This program will be presented in conjunction with Jewish-American Heritage Month and in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

Wednesday, May 14: National Archives

7:00 to 9:00 PM