by M. Cordell
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About the Author-
- M. R. Cordell earned a master's in writing for children from Hamline University. She has contributed to Cicada, Cricket, Highlights, Read, The Horn Book, and more.
July 4, 2016
This addition to the Women of Action series tells the stories of 16 women who served as soldiers, nurses, spies, and vivandières (hired laundresses and cooks) during the Civil War. Among the women first-time author Cordell introduces are Maria Lewis, a slave who disguised herself as a white man and joined a cavalry; Susie King Taylor, an educated black woman who taught the black soldiers of the First South regiment how to read and write, as well as tended to their wounds; and Loreta Janeta Velazquez, whose life (under numerous aliases) as a mustachioed soldier, spy, and thief reads like a picaresque narrative. Cordell provides both a general understanding of the varied roles of women at the time and how the individuals she profiles (photographs of whom appear throughout) relied on their ingenuity, bravery, and integrity to survive and even thrive during a turbulent chapter in American history. Source notes and suggestions for supplemental reading are provided. Ages 12–up.
June 1, 2016
Although most people associate the Civil War with its innumerable male participants, many brave women also found ways to serve.For this entry in the Women of Action series, Cordell has drawn together brief biographies of women both white and black who served in a variety of roles during the war. All of them defied gender expectations of their time but a few of them especially so. The first section describes five women who dressed as men and served as soldiers. In disguise as a man, Sarah Emma Edmonds was both soldier and spy. After deserting due to ill health, she resumed her female identity and worked as a nurse until war's end. In addition to her more familiar role as a rescuer of slaves, Harriet Tubman also served as a spy for the Union. Mary Jane Richards, who was biracial, lived with white Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew in Richmond and at great personal peril worked in the Confederate White House, where she seemed almost invisible to the white inhabitants, giving her access to important records and conversations. Harriet Ann Jacobs, a freed slave, provided humanitarian relief to black "contrabands" who fled, impoverished and hungry, to Washington, D.C. The biographies include photos of some of the women and provide a fascinating and engaging look at their activities, motivations, trials, and later lives. Excellent, detailed backmatter adds to the volume's usefulness. A solid resource. (Nonfiction. 11-18)
COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
July 1, 2016
Gr 7 Up-Leaving behind the cult of domesticity and the traditional belief that a woman's place was in the home, the 16 women highlighted in this volume put their ambitions and convictions into action. At a time when women had few legal rights and could not vote, these figures took an active role in the Civil War by disguising themselves as men in order to fight or act as spies. They worked as nurses and found ways to assist soldiers on the battlefields. Spies included Harriet Tubman and Mary Jane Richards, who was planted in the Confederate White House to gather information. Georgeanna Woolsey is an example of one of the more than 21,000 women who were on the army payroll as nurses. Some women served as vivandieres-women who were hired as cooks or laundresses and paid by the soldiers. One such woman was Annie Lorinda Etheridge, who followed her husband into the army and became a cook and nurse for the Fifth Michigan Regiment. The book begins with an introduction, providing historical context as to why the North and the South opposed each other and covering the events leading up to South Carolina's secession from the Union, the role of slavery in this opposition (Cordell wisely does not portray white Northerners simply as saviors in the fight to abolish slavery but rather as having their own legal, economic, and ideological reasons for it), and how the start of the war stirred the hearts of Northern and Southern women alike. Sidebars and photographs are scattered throughout the text. VERDICT An excellent addition to history collections.-Patricia Ann Owens, formerly at Illinois Eastern Community College, Mt. Carmel
Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
PublisherChicago Review Press
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