Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.  This book is non-fiction and it tells of the lives of four women who were brave enough to put their lives on the line for their beliefs.  The Civil War often divided the men, but you don't read much about the women then.  This book brings four to life for you.

Harper and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  You can find it in your local bookstore by September 2nd.

I had read about Emma, a woman dressed as a man who worked the front lines in war.  She assisted the doctor and saw plenty of blood and death.  In that time, they didn't bathe or bother taking their clothes off, so she could hide her sex from them.  However, her emotions weren't so easily controlled and she found herself attracted to two men she worked with.  In the end, this created enough of a problem she finally "deserted" and went back to being female.

The other three were women I had not heard of.  They schemed, seduced and used the men in command to get information to send to the other side.  A lot was accomplished by false bravado and a do or die attitude.  Even jail time didn't impress them.  They'd emerge into the light of day and go back to their old tricks.  They got sent to the other side of war where they wouldn't be as effective.  One of them went overseas.  All of them did all they could do as long as they could do it.

What struck me about this book was that all of them were independent and headstrong women.  They knew what they wanted and they went after it.  But none of them were ever really happy.  Those that married were married more than once.  Some had children.  Most died alone and unloved.  What fame and fortune they enjoyed was way behind them.  It was almost like they wanted too much and never found it.

What they did do was make a mark on the states and they still live in history as brave women, no matter which side they were on.  They did their jobs well, probably much better than a man due to the positions in society.  What more could you ask from them?

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