Several new books on real-life spies and secret operations spanning decades of U.S. history are in the Cobb County Public Library System’s catalog. Among them is a popular history book on four women in the Civil War.
There’s a waiting list for Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott, but you can still place a hold for it by clicking here or contacting any Cobb library location. You’ll need your library card number and PIN to place a hold.
Here’s a review of Abbott’s book in Publishers Weekly:
In this gripping book, Abbott (Sin in the Second City) tells the moving and fascinating story of four women who played unconventional roles during the Civil War: Belle Boyd, a boisterous flirt and Confederate spy; Rose Greenhow, a seductive widow also spying for the South; Emma Edmondson, who disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Union army; and Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy spinster in the Confederate capital with Unionist loyalties. Meticulously researched and fluidly written, this book draws the reader in and doesn’t let go until the four heroines draw their final breaths. Abbott provides an alternate view of this tumultuous time in history by featuring previously untold stories of the impact women and civilians had on the war effort, and she brings these individuals fully to life, with their passion for their causes (Elizabeth for abolitionism, Rose for the Confederacy), personal flaws (Rose was racist and self-involved, Belle was impulsive and vain), and heartbreak (Emma by two different men, Belle for an opposing spy). For example, in an era when men had trouble even picturing women in pants, Emma Edmondson enlisted as a man in the Union army and saw action in her roles as both spy and nurse. In the end, Abbott tells a remarkable story of passion, strength, and resilience.
Abbott’s book has been in the news after a review by a Washington Post book critic said her prose occasionally read like it’s “borrowed from the pages of a women’s magazine” and challenged its accuracy. For an edited version of Abbott’s response to the Washington Post review, click here.
Other new nonfiction books on spies and secret operations in the library’s Adult Collection include:
- Double agent: the first hero of World War II and how the FBI outwitted and destroyed a Nazi spy ring by Peter Duffy
- Good hunting: an American spymaster’s story by Jack Devine
- The good spy: the life and death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird
- Dark invasion: 1915 – Germany’s secret war and the hunt for the first terrorist cell in America by Howard Blum