Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

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Today’s nonfiction review is on Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott. It is 544 pages long including notes and is published by HarperCollins. The cover has the torso of woman in a blue dress and a broach with the United States and the Confederacy flags on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history and the impact that women had on the Civil War. There is some language, talk of sex, and lots of violence in this book but because of how it is written I think that anyone from 13 and up can read and enjoy this book. The stories are told from diaries, letters, interviews, and other historical sources. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the back of the book- Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy illuminates yet little known chapter of our history, chronicling the adventures of four heroines- a socialites, a farm girl, and abolitionist, and a widow- throughout the war.
After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall, Belle Boyd became a Confederate courier and spy, using her charms to seduce men on both sides.
Emma Edmonds cut her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the war’s bloodiest battles.
Beautiful widow Rose O’Neal Greenhow engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy.
Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring.
Abbott’s entertaining and enlightening history, packed with black-and-white photographs draws us into this tumultuous time as these daring women lived it.
Review- I think that this book is going to be the next big hit. This book is smart, interesting, fun, and touching. I had a moral problem as I read this book and I think that it is a good thing. Abbott presented me with people who are not good people but then they have to deal with others who are in my opinion are worse. For example Rose Greenhow is one of the reasons that the Confederacy won the battle of Manassas. She hated anything and everything about the US. But she was hunted, tortured and imprisoned by Alan Pinkerton. My problem was how Pinkerton did all of this and it was Pinkerton. I do not like Pinkerton. Abbott gives the reader many things that like. She makes all the women understandable and pitiable. The notes are useful but I did not need to read them to feel that I understood the story. I highly recommend this book.
I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.