Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy; Karen Abbott

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One Response to “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy; Karen Abbott”

  1. Taylor B. Says:

    Summary: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott is all about four very real and amazing women during the Civil War (1861-1865). Two were on the side of the Union, and two were on the side of the Confederacy, lead lives that no one else knows about.
    Belle Boyd was a seventeen year old spitfire tomboy; born with a temper many didn’t like to mess with. After an invasion of Union soldiers in her town, a small squadron burst into her house because of rumors of her family owning a confederate flag (this was true), and Belle of course defends herself and household, and ends up shooting and killing a Union soldier who goes for her mother after she insulted him. Belle soon after becomes a courier and spy for the confederate army, charming valuable information from men (soldiers specifically) on both sides using her art of seduction to coax information out, and sending her slave Eliza Hopewell to deliver the information Belle…ahem…”received”.
    Rose O’Neal Greenhow, a widow with a daughter, was also a spy for the Confederacy. Rose made political relationships with all sorts of governors, senators, highly ranked militiamen, etc. and used it to her advantage to pass on information to the Confederacy. At one point, she even controlled a network of Confederate spies, and even sailed overseas to be a confederate “ambassador”, if you will, for a diplomatic event. Rose had a women’s auxiliary named after her-the Order of the Confederate Rose- shortly after her tragic death.
    Emma Edmonds was a young woman who wanted to fight in the war, and of course being a girl, knew she couldn’t, so instead of sitting back and watching the chaos, she chooses to cut her hair, mask her figure and portray herself as Frank Thompson, a man with a vague past who doesn’t share much. As Frank, she joins the Union army and fights against the Confederacy. After a close military friend is discovered as a spy against the Confederacy and thrown before a firing squad, Emma immediately applies for her friend’s position seeking a sort of vengeance, receives the position, and essentially becomes the new spy in her friend’s place. A few of her disguises include dying her skin dark to portray being a slave, and being a laundress for the Confederate soldiers, to which she returned with military papers for her generals. Once Edmonds contracted malaria, she quit the military lifestyle and instead checked back into her original identity of Emma, and became a nurse in Washington D.C.
    Lastly we find Elizabeth Van Lew, an active abolitionist and spy ring leader for the Union army who happened to live behind Confederate lines. Lew aided Union soldiers imprisoned in a the Confederacy’s Libby Prison in Richmond, VA. At one point, Lew managed to hire a spy to work as a household servant in the White House of Confederacy. She developed a cipher system as well, and was so good at covering up her tracks that she occasionally “sent” General Ulysses Grant flowers and a copy of the Richmond newspaper. During the siege of Petersburg, Lew not only assisted civilians of the Union side, but also the Confederate.
    These four women risked their lives to fight for their sides, and many of them were awarded with a reward or acknowledgement of some sort.

    Evaluation: I liked this book because it showed me a side of the Civil War that I hadn’t really realized there was a part of. The fact that these women were so powerful during the war is amazing, because women weren’t granted power like men were. They showed that war is not just fought by the men, but also by the women, and that there is more than one side of the story when it comes to war. Not only that, but also that the women went to extremes sometimes just to fight for what they believed in, and in the end were satisfied to a certain extent with their work. Also, girl power. READ THIS!!!!

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Recommendations(books I recommend are about the insides of war/related to war): Unbroken, Don’t Know Much About the Civil War, Night

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