Review: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” by Karen Abbott

ltss_karenabbottFinal Rating: fivecupsFive cups of educational tea.

This is the blog’s first review of a non-fictional work! Hurray! It’s a historical one, to boot.

Before reading this, I admit that I had very little knowledge about the events and persons involved in the Civil War. Reading “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” has given me not only a deeper understanding of things I experience in present day, but a passionate desire to increase my knowledge on this subject. There is, in my opinion, no greater praise that I can bestow upon a historical work.

This book truly was a fascinating read; Abbott makes the history of our country come to life. I was greatly moved by the amount of careful, meticulous research that must have been involved in the writing of this book. The author presents the lives of these four women with honesty and dynamism, letting each one speak in her own words and with her own actions. No judgments are cast and it truly felt like I was getting an honest look at each year of their lives. I was able to come to my own conclusions without having to wade through the opinions of either the author, or other historians and “experts”.

It was also nice to hear about women in the civil war; even with all of our modern advances against the perils of sexism, there’s still a long way to go and it’s rare to hear about the role women play in our country’s history. This goes double for any narrative happening during wartime. Which is a blatant disservice, since I know for a fact women of all colors have played essential roles in every battle that has ever been fought since the dawn of time; our current culture just doesn’t want to admit it. In my experience, the only time we feel comfortable talking about women in wartime is when WW2 is discussed–and even then, our mentions are brief. I’m grateful that someone took the time and care to expand on that discussion, and it’s really ignited my desire to learn more about the women who have affected change in our country’s history. I have been far too comfortable with my ignorance on that score; as such, this will most definitely not be the last book on this subject that I read.

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