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Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 2. September 2014

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 528 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper (2. September 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0062092898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062092892
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 4 x 22,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 714.537 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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“Not for nothing has Abbott been called a ‘pioneer of sizzle history.’ Here she creates a gripping page-turner that moves at a breathtaking clip through the dramatic events of the Civil War.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Engrossing…Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is conscientiously researched and smoothly written and structured.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A revelation... Abbott profiles four [women], sometimes weaving, sometimes stacking their stories together into a compelling narrative.” (USA Today (four stars))

“Eloquent… A riveting psychological inquiry and probing examination of the courage, incomparable patriotism, stamina, and agility of four women who repeatedly risked their lives to serve their citizenry... Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy [feels] like an operatic espionage novel, where deception, betrayal, love, and redemption are interspersed with gripping combat scenes and perilous rescues.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, full of so many titillating dramas and details, you could be forgiven for periodically checking the back of the book to make sure it’s nonfiction.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Gripping... a remarkable story of passion, strength, and resilience.” (Publishers Weekly (Starred Review))

“Compelling... Karen Abbott stitches together a patchwork narrative as complex as a pieced quilt, combining the colorful, unrelated tales of four women who fought in the Civil War as surely as Lee and Grant… [her] high achievement lies in her Augean compilation of published and archival material.” (Washington Times)

“Abbott’s prose is vivid, especially when she writes about battles and the terrible costs they exact.” (Washington Post)

“Karen Abbott’s powerful narrative is first rate American history about a fascinating, little-known chapter of the Civil War, as well as a compulsive, thrilling saga of espionage. Brilliant storytelling, highly accessible, and impossible to put down.” (Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Devil in the Grove)

“Abbott…[reveals] in such vivid detail the extraordinary lives of women who involved themselves so dangerously in the Civil War. This is that rare work of history that reads like a novel -- and a really good one at that -- and in which the truth is more thrilling than fiction. ” (Michael Korda, NY Times bestselling biographer of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, and T. E. Lawrence)

“With this book, Karen Abbott declares herself the John le Carré of Civil War espionage--with the added benefit that the saga she tells is all true and beautifully researched.” (Erik Larson, bestselling author of Devil in the White City)

“Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy by Karen Abbott is a masterpiece of narrative storytelling, backed by impeccable research and extraordinary material. I was gripped by every page.” (Amanda Foreman, author of the award-winning best sellers Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire: A Epic History of Two Nations Divided)

“Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is a masterwork of suspenseful plots and unforgettable characters rendered in exacting, gorgeous detail-a brilliant new take on the heroines and villainesses of the Civil War.” (Lydia Netzer, author of the New York Times notable book Shine Shine Shine)

“With Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, Karen Abbott has taken history and written it with the eloquence of good fiction. Halfway through her book, I decided Ian Fleming could not have invented better spies…nor have written about them with any more suspense.” (Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country)

Thrilling, illuminating, heart-pounding. Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy reads like a crackling espionage novel...Karen Abbott brings to vivid life four of extraordinary and audacious women, and runs glorious roughshod over all our traditional notions of the role of women in the Civil War. (Megan Abbott, Edgar-award winning and New York Times bestselling author of Dare Me and The Fever )

“Beautifully written, meticulously researched, and paced like an edge-of-your-seat-novel---I love this big, ambitious, unstoppable book.” ( Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and Someone Else's Love Story)

The subjects of Karen Abbott’s gripping story Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy leap up -- and almost off -- the page… an irresistibly good tale of Civil War espionage and a reminder that the heroes of our history are often found in the most unexpected places. (Deborah Blum, New York Times bestselling author of The Poisoner's Handbook)

“Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is the kind of page-turning book you can get so absorbed in that you keep forgetting it’s nonfiction.” (


An Amazon Best Book of 2014
A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of 2014

Belle Boyd
Emma Edmonds
Rose O'Neal Greenhow
Elizabeth Van Lew

In Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, bestselling author Karen Abbott tells the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything—their homes, their families, and their very lives—during the Civil War.

Seventeen-year-old Belle Boyd, an avowed rebel with a dangerous temper, shot a Union soldier in her home and became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her considerable charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds disguised herself as a man to enlist as a Union private named Frank Thompson, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the war and infiltrating enemy lines, all the while fearing that her past would catch up with her. The beautiful widow Rose O'Neal Greenhow engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians, used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals, and sailed abroad to lobby for the Confederacy, a journey that cost her more than she ever imagined. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring—even placing a former slave inside the Confederate White House—right under the noses of increasingly suspicious rebel detectives.

Abbott's pulse-quickening narrative weaves the adventures of these four forgotten daredevils into the tumultuous landscape of a broken America, evoking a secret world that will surprise even the most avid enthusiasts of Civil War–era history. With a cast of real-life characters, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, Detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoléon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy shines a dramatic new light on these daring—and, until now, unsung—heroines.

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Format: Kindle Edition
Powerful and gripping this story of four remarkable women who filled unconventional roles during the Civil War is unputdownable from start to finish. Karen Abbott’s research is impeccable, her facts indisputable yet the story reads very much like a novel as it flows so smoothly alternately focusing on each woman. Most fascinating for this reader were the direct quotations taken from diaries and letters written at that time. In addition, the narrative is filled with historical figures - Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Allan Pinkerton and more. Yet it is the courage and passion of these daring four women that gives the story breath and life.

Belle Boyd was but 17-years-old when she shot a Union soldier in her home. She was boisterous, hot tempered and an avowed rebel who became a courier and spy for the Confederate army. She was an inveterate flirt who used her charms to seduce men and gain information. She later lived through imprisonment while continuing to defy the Union by any means possible.

Rose Greenhow was an attractive widow and Washington D.C. hostess with many influential friends. She used her position to acquire information about the Union’s military plans and passed it along. She openly defied and sometimes ridiculed Pinkerton’s operatives who were attempting to catch her, yet she was imprisoned along with her young daughter. At one time President Jefferson Davis even sent her to Europe to lobby for the South.

This quartet of valiant women came from different backgrounds and regions. Young Emma Edmondson escaped a Canadian farm and her cruel father who had promised her to an elderly neighbor.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 316 Rezensionen
159 von 169 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Bad history 28. Juli 2014
Von James W. Durney - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I looked forward to reading this book and wanted to like it.
The first problem occurred in the Introduction when the author talks about “Taps” being played in the 1861 army camps.
Taps will not exist for several months and will not be adopted as “official” until 1874.
I let this go, allowance being made for effect and establishing a mood.

The author’s idea of an overall plan for August 1861 just is not realistic.
Coordination of offensives will not occur until the spring of 1864.
At this time, the best plan was for Johnston to be held in the Shenandoah Valley.

The next problem is her stating the CSA waved Union Flags at First Bull Run.
Blue & Gray had not been standardized and both sides wore blue and gray uniforms.
Some of Johnston’s troops, in blue uniforms, caused some Union regiments to hold their fire making a contribution to them breaking.

I stopped reading when the author catalogued a series of Confederate atrocities during and after the battle.
She has men playing ball with severed heads, cutting off noses, ears and testicles for souvenirs.
Using dead Union soldiers for target practice and carving “Yankee shin-bones” into drum sticks.

Since the book is not properly foot-noted, we do not have her source for this.
In what passes for notes, she references the Times and Herald as sources.
In the next sentence, she admits newspapers tended to embellish stories of atrocities.
She fails to admit that no respected Civil War author accepts these stories as fact.
In stating them as fact, she is either a poor historian or dishonest, in either case I do not want to waste my time reading this book.

The major problem is that, she writes well and with authority.
People will accept what she says as fact.
While readable, the book is not close to history and contains many very basic errors.
69 von 76 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: A Good Read 27. Juni 2014
Von KATHI - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Like most Civil War buffs, I read every new book that comes out on the subject, whether to confirm/contradict what I already know or to learn new information to add to my mental database. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War does both. The author, Karen Abbott, has selected four women whose lives are chronicled in the book - two from each side of the conflict - who served during the war in some capacity, mainly as spies. The book will be for sale on Amazon this September.

I am familiar with all four women, to a lesser or greater degree. Surely the most infamous female spies of the war were those supporting the Southern cause: Rose O'Neal Greenhow, a Washington Socialite who coaxed many northern politicians into divulging secrets, and Belle Boyd, a small town girl from Martinsburg, Virginia (later West Virginia) who through sheer moxy served as a courier by carrying intelligence to her hero Stonewall Jackson. They were certainly the most colorful and flamboyant of all who served. The two women supporting the north were Elizabeth Van Lew and Emma Edmonds. While Greenhow's and Boyd's names were splashed across newspapers of the time, celebrating (or condemning) their accomplishments, Van Lew and Edmonds by necessity served in silence. Van Lew lived in Richmond yet remained loyal to the Union. Her efforts at assisting Yankee soldiers escaping from Confederate prisons and runaway slaves from their masters were no small feat during war time. Her neighbors as well as the government suspected, but were never able to catch her in the act. And finally, Emma Edmonds, who passed herself off as a man and served the north as a soldier/spy in some of the bloodiest battles of the war.

The author has accomplished her goal admirably, giving enormous details of the lives of these amazing women. There were many details that were new to me, one of particular interest was that of Mary Bowser, one of Elizabeth Van Lew's servants whom she persuaded Varina Davis to hire into the White House of the Confederacy. I knew of Mary and that she had provided extremely important information to the north while employed in the President's house. However, I was not aware that Mary had an eidetic memory, surely an invaluable attribute for a spy. Another detail I found especially humorous was a quote of Rose Greenhow while in London still trying to persuade the British to enter the war on the side of the South. At a dinner one night, an abolitionist asked her, "Who was the superior man, President Lincoln or President Davis?", to which Rose replied, "Sir, if you accept the scientific weight rather than the religious one - and believe man in the beginning was a baboon or an orangutan, and that successive ages of improvement has brought him to this present high state of perfection, almost equaling the God head - I will assume Mr. Lincoln is the beginning of the specimen, Mr. Davis the end."

The book is probably undergoing some final stages of proofing/editing prior to its release in September. It is fraught with typos that will hopefully be cleared up, and there is one glaring error that will need correcting as well. In Part II, The Still, Small Voice, the soldier's ration of bacon grease fried with cornmeal is referred to as "coosh" rather than "sloosh." I'm also a bit disappointed that there is almost a 100 page gap until the reader learns more of Emma Edmonds' status. Still, the book delivers on its promise of in-depth research on its subjects, and reads like a thriller, describing women whose character could only suit the times in which they were born. It is a must read for those interested in these exceptional women's lives and others of similar example.
25 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Overall this is a fast paced book that portrays a side only told in academia in a fun and readable manner 26. Juli 2014
Von Lehigh History Student - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy follows four women’s efforts to help their respective sides during the course of the Civil War and fight alongside men breaking gender norms of the time. The women Belle Boyd, Rose O’Neal Greenhow, Elizabeth Van Lew and Emma Edmonds each have a unique story and the author keeps a fast pace making this book a page turner.
Belle Boyd was living in what is now West Virginia and a supporter of the south when Union soldiers came into the town to occupy. Upon entering the house Boyd shot a Union solider and earned notoriety for it. She continued her work as a courier for the confederates and serving her idol General Stonewall Jackson. After being arrested and sent to prison in the north where she continued her strong acts of defiance shew as finally exchanged on parole and told to stay out of the North. Acting as an overseas courier she was stopped on a ship and detained by the navy where she charmed one captain into marrying her. Boyd is a southern hero who craved fame above all else and was a true believer in the cause especially wanting to follow her idol Stonewall.
Rose O’Neal Greenhow was a socialite in Washington DC who was a strong supporter of the Southern Cause. She charmed top military leaders and senators to gleam information and send them to her friend Beaugrard. She was credited by confederate authorities for providing the key information in allowing First Manassas to be a victory. Greenhow was arrested by the north and became one of the first women detained during the war along with her daughter. After she was exchanged she was a celebrity in the south and was sent on a diplomatic mission to England and France to try and win support for the cause there. Although not successful she mingled with many top European diplomats and leaders including Palmerstone and Napoleon III.
Elizabeth Van Lew was a northern sympathizer living in Richmond who organized one of the most extensive spy rings in world history up until this point. Using dozens of operatives she smuggled prisoners to the north with valuable information including placing one of her slaves in service to Jefferson Davis at the southern White House. Van Lew had seen to it that her slave was educated and could read and write which the Davis’ did not know allowing her to read top level documents and pass the information on to Van Lew. Grant would maintain a friendship with Van Lew long after the war even making her postmaster of Richmond during his presidency as a thank you for the services she rendered him during the war. Sending over 100 dispatches a week around the time of the campaigns for the siege on Richmond she provided some of the most valuable intelligence of the war on what was happening in Richmond.
Emma Edmonds assumed the identity of a man long before the civil war but enlisted as Frank Thompson and fought in several battles early in the war as well as serving as a currier and medical assistant throughout the war. Emma would reveal her identity to only two other soldiers and played a dangerous game by hiding her gender during the war. Finally becoming a spy in Kentucky and delivering information to the Unions did she decide it was time for a different path and deserted as Frank and reenrolling in the Army as a nurse under her identity of Emma. Many years after the war she revealed herself as Frank in order to gain her veteran benefits.
Overall this is a fast paced book that portrays a side only told in academia in a fun and readable manner. For those interested in some of the various roles of women in the civil was you will not go wrong with this book.
16 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Quartet Of Female Spies Redefine The Role Of Women During The Civiil War 12. August 2014
Von G.I Gurdjieff - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I've read Karen Abbott's two previous books (Sin In The Second City, American Rose) and love the unique way Abbott has of handling history so I jumped at this chance to read this book that delves into the lives of four civil war women who risked every thing to become spies during an unprecedented period of great internal strife within the United States.
Since I am one of those people who reads incessantly and is glued to the programming on the History Channel and PBS, I had more than an inkling that women were used as spies as well as couriers during the Civil War. However, I never knew to what extent was their involvement or much about their private lives.
To contain her story and keep it within manageable parameters, Abbott pared her girl spy sorority down to four main characters who may have trumped their male counterparts in the fine art of espionage. Their motives varied and as Abbott's narrative unrolls so did their methods.
The quartet is comprised of Belle Boyd, Emma Edmonds, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, and Elizabeth Van Lew. Prior to reading this book, I had only heard of the notorious rebel Boyd and the beautiful widow Greenhow. During their careers as spies they employed such tools as seduction, disguise, and concealment to achieve their specific goals and in reality risked everything to avoid detection. As Abbott tells their story she weaves a tale which incorporates many prominent figures of the day including Abraham and Mary Lincoln, Stonewall Jackson, Allen Pinkerton, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Much aside from the bare facts combined with an enormous amount of supporting detail. Abbott employs her ability to tell history as a story that is both potent and compelling. While I was well aware that none of the information was fabricated for maximum effect, as I read on I realized this was in fact great story telling and could have been a novel or a tale of espionage. I became so lost in this story that at times I found myself being nudged back to reality telling myself that this was real and not the fanciful fabrications of a novelist. Yep, it was that good.
Before I end this review and have hopefully tantalized you enough to read this book, I have to mention one common theme that is now suddenly emerging that exists in all three of Abbott's books. All have as its core real life characters are women who have gone against traditional values to forge lives for themselves that have been both empowering and daring.
Well written both technically and artistically, this easily explains why I squirreled myself away with this book all night.
21 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The truth is better than fiction, so why is it not present here? 16. August 2014
Von L. Jonsson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
After reading the top 1 star review given to this book that is the first review posted, I was hesitant to enjoy this book. I have to agree with most of what some of the other reviewers have pointed out-Abbot did not get her history right, the book reads too much like a novel, there is some dialogue that is portrayed as fact in the book when there may or may not be documentation that it occurred. I really wanted to like this book, the numerous quoted reviews by reputable publications made me really want to enjoy it. I also like fictionalized history, having just started the Outlander series and enjoying anything by Philippa Gregory (The other Boleyn girl). Abbot's writing style is tempting. As it has been pointed out by other reviewers, frequently she gets her history and her facts incorrect. But this book shows a side of the Civil War that I have not encountered before. Four spies, all women, and all for different reasons lie, cheat and steal to support the side of the war they are on. So for that, for Abbot paying attention to the women who fought on either side during the war of Northern aggression, I applaud her. However, it would have been nice for her to have paid more attention to detail, by consulting several women's historian's on the Civil War and on the history of certain things used in the camps mentioned. The song "Taps," and how it was not used mostly until after the war was over and adopted as an official lights out tune at that time, has already been discussed so I will not discuss it further. Strictly for people who want a fictionalized perspective of women in the Civil War.
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