Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

eBook - 2014
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Karen Abbott, the <New York Times</ bestselling author of <Sin in the Second City</ and "pioneer of sizzle history" <(USA Today</), tells the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War.</ Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women'a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow'who were spies.</ After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O'Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives.</ Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies' descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, <Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy</ draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.</ <Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy</ contains 39 black & photos and 3 maps. </
Publisher: [S.l.] : Harper, 2014
ISBN: 9780062092915
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Nov 14, 2017

The Civil War is, of course, an epic event. What I appreciated about Karen Abbott's book was the reminder that epic events are made up of many individual actions. Using diaries, eyewitness accounts, contemporary news articles and official records she told the true stories of four women. At a time when women were assigned very rigid roles, each of these women responded with her own vision of patriotic action. These actions often meant the difference between life and death for themselves and others. I found the book to be a fascinating, up-close-and personal glimpse into a turbulent time.

Jun 03, 2017

In LIAR, TEMPTRESS, SOLDIER, SPY author Karen Abbott offers a fascinating look at the lives and exploits of 4 women (2 Union & 2 Confederate) who ignored the societal norms of the time and risked it all for their respective causes during the American Civil War. It is very well researched but a bit too long, and with references to many historical figures and events it can be confusing.

AL_LESLEY Nov 10, 2016

Granted, I did read this book on and off for over a year (jeeeez!) I don't think my one complaint about this book is due to that. Rose, Elizabeth, Belle and Emma... I couldn't keep track of who was who! The book flitted so often between the four women that I had to stop and look back and spend a lot of time trying to remember if Belle was in England still or was that Rose this time, is Elizabeth the union spy and Rose and Belle the Confederate ones? I had to constantly remind myself. The only one that really stood out was Emma who dressed as a man and was as often in the text referred to as Frank as Emma. Well written and containing a wealth of interesting information that ultimately got muddled in this head of mine.

Aug 29, 2016

Abbott’s account of a Union soldier, a Union sympathizer living in Richmond, a Confederate spy living in Washington and a precocious young girl in western Virginia is told from first-person accounts, but reads engagingly like a good story.

Social norms didn’t give women any role. These women seized opportunities. Recommended.

mvkramer Mar 30, 2016

This enjoyable volume of popular history explores the stories of four women - two Union and two Confederate - who gave their all to make a difference in the Civil War. While many of their achievements were in espionage and diplomacy, more "feminine" spheres, one actually disguised herself as a man and enlisted. An exciting volume that proves that truth is stranger than fiction. Really enjoyable.

Feb 10, 2016

The story of four women, four unsung heroes dedicated to their causes during the American Civil war who 'chafed at the limitations society set for them and were determined to change the course of the war'. Belle Boyd, the hot headed teenager who supported the South, worked as a courier and used her charms to seduce men and believed it was her duty to entrap the Yankee spys. Emma Edmunds, a Canadian who ran away from a forced marriage, joined the Union army as a male nurse (even though she was a female), post master and effective spy. Rose Greenhow, a Confederate spy while living in Union territory charmed military leaders and senators for information. As she created a vast espionage ring in the federal capital, she provided key intelligence about the enemy's plans, even while watched by the Pinkerton men. Elizabeth Van Lew, an abolitionist who ran a sizable spy ring for the Union as well as a safe house in Richmond for Union soldiers.
This is a very well researched and thorough account of these four women. It reads like a novel but it is sometimes hard to follow all of the secondary characters. Overall a very interesting book.

Nov 09, 2015

Exciting, for the most part fast-paced, and full of tension and intrigue. A little longer than I'm used to , but worth every one of its 429 pages. At times it was better than fiction.

Jun 03, 2015

This would make a great movie.

May 06, 2015

If you enjoy history of the Civil War, you will probably enjoy the book. The book not probably only scratches the surface of their lives. It gets a little slow in places, but all-in-all a good read.

Feb 17, 2015

Karen Abbott is on a par with Erik Larsen and Deborah Blum when it comes to writing history as readable as a novel. She explores four women's lives during the Civil War -- Belle Boyd, Emma Edmonds, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, and Elizabeth Van Lew. Two were pro-Union and two were pro-Secession. Each contributed to their respective war efforts by flaunting the traditional 19th-century female role. A fascinating look at the many sides of war and the choices/decisions it influences. I really like the epilogue which follow the women's fate post-Civil War.

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mvkramer Mar 30, 2016

Violence: Plenty of wartime carnage.

mvkramer Mar 30, 2016

Sexual Content: Some excerpts from a prostitute's diary.


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