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Monday, April 30, 2012

Wild Rose: The True Story of a Civil War Spy

I somehow got into female spies. I found an article in the History Channel magazine about a German spy sending dolls with messaged in them. From then on out whenever I had a history project come up I would see if there was something about female spies I could do it one. In the fall I am taking my last history research class and it covers the 19th century South. I knew there was female spies during the Civil War and started to look for book that would help me discover what is mentioned and what is not mentioned.

Synopsis: For sheer bravado and style, no woman in the North or South rivaled the Civil War heroine Rose O’Neale Greenhow. Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself. In this superb portrait, biographer Ann Blackman tells the surprising true story of a unique woman in history. 

“I am a Southern woman, born with revolutionary blood in my veins,” Rose once declared–and that fiery spirit would plunge her into the center of power and the thick of adventure. Born into a slave-holding family, Rose moved to Washington, D.C., as a young woman and soon established herself as one of the capital’s most charming and influential socialites, an intimate of John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and Dolley Madison. 

She married well, bore eight children and buried five, and, at the height of the Gold Rush, accompanied her husband Robert Greenhow to San Francisco. Widowed after Robert died in a tragic accident, Rose became notorious in Washington for her daring–and numerous–love affairs.

But with the outbreak of the Civil War, everything changed. Overnight, Rose Greenhow, fashionable hostess, become Rose Greenhow, intrepid spy. As Blackman reveals, deadly accurate intelligence that Rose supplied to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard written in a fascinating code (the code duplicated in the background on the jacket of this book). Her message to Beauregard turned the tide in the first Battle of Bull Run, and was a brilliant piece of spycraft that eventually led to her arrest by Allan Pinkerton and imprisonment with her young daughter. 

Indomitable, Rose regained her freedom and, as the war reached a crisis, journeyed to Europe to plead the Confederate cause at the royal courts of England and France. 
Drawing on newly discovered diaries and a rich trove of contemporary accounts, Blackman has fashioned a thrilling, intimate narrative that reads like a novel. Wild Rose is an unforgettable rendering of an astonishing woman, a book that will stand with the finest Civil War biographies. (Taken from GoodReads)

Review: I really enjoyed this book. While it lacked any details on the spycraft of spies during the Civil War there was a little information. Either no one truly knows all the details or the author wanted the book to be about Rose herself and not so much how she was a spy. Reading through the book you get a good sense on what was taking place during this time in Washington D.C. and how hard it was for those invovled. I took away from this book that Rose ONeale Greenhow was a strong woman who never backed down from her beliefs. I think it's a book any girl or woman needs to read. It's a great book on a woman who was respected by high official men and was important to the cause. 

I gave this book 5 stars because I was written so well and it truly gave me some insight to both the Confederate side (most of my history courses seem to favor the Union) and how some women actually felt during the war. 

My Rating:


Monday, April 16, 2012

Late March Recap

So I never did a review/recap of the books I read in March for the To Be Read Pile Challenge. I only read one book and that was Enclave. I read nothing else and I am not sure if I will be able to finish anything for April either. I am still reading Wild Rose about a female Confederate Spy. It's pretty interesting.
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