Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott --- 513 pages including Credits, Endnotes, Bibliography and Index

Karen Abbott, best-selling author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose (a biography of Gypsy Rose Lee), has produced a fascinating look at four women who participated in the American Civil War. Belle Boyd and Rose O'Neal Greenhow spied for the South, while Emma Edmondson and Elizabeth Van Lew spied for the North.  By interweaving their stories chronologically throughout the course of the conflict and after, Abbott invites us to consider their similarities and differences. Belle Boyd, headstrong and impetuous, coveted notoriety. Rose Greenhow, once an influential Washington hostess, used her charms and connections to make herself indispensable to the Confederate cause. Emma Edmonds fled an abusive home and disguised as "Frank Thompson," served in a Michigan regiment, as a courier, nurse, and scout. Elizabeth Van Lew, the spinster daughter of a prominent Richmond family with Abolitionist sympathies, operated a network of spies that reached into the household of Jefferson Davis himself, and organized escape routes for Union prisoners, all under the hostile and suspicious eyes of her neighbors.

Click HERE to listen to WGN Chicago radio interview with Karen Abbott.

Click HERE to read the Washington Post review of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.

Click HERE to read Karen Abbott's response to the Washington Post review on the feminist blog Jezebel.com.

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