Monday, October 13, 2014

Karen Abbott

Karen Abbott's latest book is Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War.

From her Q & A with Alexis Coe at The Toast:

Tell me about the four women of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. How did you choose them?

When the war begins, Belle Boyd is 17 years old, a Confederate girl living in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. After Northern soldiers occupy her town and one of them threatens to raise a Union flag over her home, she responds by fatally shooting him—how could I resist? Belle goes on to become a courier and spy for the rebel army. She was all id, with absolutely no filter or conscience. She was also incredibly overt—with both her opinions and her sexuality—for her age and for the time. If Sarah Palin and Miley Cyrus had a 19th century baby, it would’ve been Belle Boyd (although she was much smarter than either of them.)

Emma Edmonds, in the spring of 1861, enlists in the Union army as a man, calling herself Frank Thompson. She was one of about 400 women who disguised themselves as men during the war, and it was fascinating to research how they got away with this—mainly because no one had any idea what a woman would look like wearing pants; the very idea was unfathomable to them. Emma worked as a nurse and courier, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the war, and eventually becomes a Union spy. She worries constantly about her gender being discovered, especially when she falls in love with a fellow Union soldier.

Rose O’Neal Greenhow was a grand dame of Washington DC society, and her entire life...[read on]
Visit Karen Abbott's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sin in the Second City.

The Page 99 Test: American Rose.

--Marshal Zeringue