Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles and Altered the Course of the Civil War
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Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles and Altered the Course of the Civil War

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Clandestine missions. Clever, devious, daring. Passionately committed to a cause. During America's most divisive war, both the Union and Confederacy took advantage of brave and courageous women willing to adventurously support their causes. These female spies of the Civil War participated in the world's second-oldest profession-spying-a profession perilous in the extreme....more
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published (first published 2010)
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Robin
I love books which introduce me to historical figures I’d never heard of before and this collection of biographies on female spies of the American Civil War did just that. It’s incredible that such remarkable women (in both positive and negative ways) have gone unknown to me for so long. I was amazed by the mistakes some of them made which lead to disastrous results and also by some of the things they successfully got away with.

I wasn’t sure how interested I would be in the subject matter becaus...more
Lisa
Wonderful book for anyone interested in Civil War history. This book doesn't present Civil War history just as dry facts and numbers. You get the often unheard back stories of the women who tried to do their part for their cause. Each chapter is the story of a woman for either the North or the South and how she became involved in clandestine activities for the war. You are given information on not only how she entered the war as a spy but what happened to her after the war. Even if you are not a...more
Aimeeshirk
Entertaining and interesting, but I couldn't help notice that the majority of the northern spies are portrayed by the author as virtuous, where as the southern spies are portrayed as immoral. I doubt things were actually so black and white. It was a fun read though. I read many of the stories to my teenage daughters and they enjoyed them too, especially after visiting many of the sites where the featured events took place.
Danielle
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm sure mostly because it happened in battlefields all around where I live, but it still is a fascinating read. I like how each chapter was a new spy story, and I was amazed at the lengths these women went through to help during the Civil War. It's a shame there's not much written about them and what is written about them is virtually unknown.
Megan
A very readable history of women who spied for the Union and for the Confederacy. I was impressed by the amount of documentation, by the strength of the information available (wow, these women really DID influence the course of the Civil War), and I found the stories very engaging.
Nancy
Stealing Secrets is a remarkable book for the remarkable female spies whose stories are told by Winkler.
Some of the women delivered messages as a spy for either the North or the South in the Civil War. Others carried medicines, messages, arms and other things needed by the armies in their hoop skirts and/or rolled into small packets and hidden in their hair. Still others wore disguises and entered the lines as men.
Revealed battle plans and campaigns made to fail were the specialties of these...more
Cynthia
Reveals a side of history that we know happened, but not how.
John Price
An interesting book about a female side of the conflict.
Elizabeth
Lots of interesting information about the amazing feats of women during the Civil War (for both sides).
Drusilla
"During America's most divisive war, both the Union and Confederacy took advantage of brave and courageous women willing to adventurously support their causes. These female spies of the Civil War participated in the world's second-oldest profession-spying-a profession perilous in the extreme. The tales of female spies are filled with suspense, bravery, treachery, and trickery. They took enormous risks and achieved remarkable results-often in ways men could not do."

Very factual.
Kim
Winkler has created a comprehensive and interesting guide to many of the forgotten heroines of both the Union and the Confederacy. These were women who took advantage of the strictures of society and played them to their fullest, gaining and carrying off vital information to their respective sides. These women influenced some of the greatest battles in the Civil War, and yet their names remain shrouded and obscure. A very informative read set at a great pace.
Jason
I read this for the local library book club. I enjoyed it alot at first, but then it became a lot of the same. And the book is just chapters on these women - in no discernible order. A more creative writer could have interspersed some of these stories together episodically to keep tension and mystery. But the stories themselves - and the women's lives and bravery or foolishness are definitely an interesting part of the war that most do not know.
Desiree
Being a huge fan of historical novels, I was drawn to this book since it is about women in history. I enjoyed reading about the impact women had on historical events and learning what role women played during those events. I must admit that as I reached the last few chapters of the book, I had to force myself to finish as it seemed to be a lot of what I had already read. Overall, I did like the book.
Kari
This book covers many of the clandestine activities of spies during the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate, these soldiers and civilians used many interesting tactics to evade discovery. I used this book to create a program at the battlefield where I work. It gives a lot of great details, but you have to keep in mind that most of the stories are from the perspectives of the spies themselves.
Liz
Aside from some inconsistencies (such as not fully explaining one woman's story, some typos, and some creative liberties) this is a well written and well documented book that explores a little known aspect of the Civil War: Women spies. A fascinating and entertaining read as well as informative, this book is a must recommend to anyone and everyone, regardless of their interest in the Civil War.
Margo Brooks
A fine book if you want short biographies, but given the tantalizing subject matter, it was a bit dry. The format, bio after bio with no connections or comparisons made between different spies, was dull to read. Even so, there is value in this sort of catalog, even if that value lies in finding something to research more diligently.
kelley
The author has gathered facts and information about 40 brave and daring women who served as spies for both the North and the South, one was a double agent. I found the stories compelling and the courage of these women amazing. I enjoyed this book from first page to last--it was a very unique look at the civil war.

Tiffany Bolton
Read this for an essay I wrote in my Composition class. A good read, but I questioned the use of some of the research by the author in the re-telling of the stories of the individual women, especially where it seems she included rumors or hearsay. Otherwise, I liked it.
Melyssa
I found this book at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. It tells the stories of women spies on both sides during the Civil War. Reading about what they did, how they learned secrets, and how they hid them (and sometimes their identities) was fascinating.
Maureen Mahowald
This book was a delightful view into the lives of women of courage. The stories of both Union and Confederate spies are included. Read the book to learn what women really carried (concealed) under the hoop skirts or the elaborate hairstyles.
Jeanette
I chose to read this book and do my History report on it. This book was very educational and I enjoyed learning just how much of an impact the women made on the Civil War by being spies. I got an "A" on that report, btw ;)
L Greyfort
Definitely learned about people about whom I'd never know anything before. But the author's very modern idiomatic writing style REALLY jars with the many quotations from the primary sources.
Laurie
I really thought this was interesting, all the spies for both sides of the Civil War, alot of them were woman. It was a great read learned alot about the civil war too.
Robin Mcnemar
I read this book in two days while in Gettysburg. I couldn't put it down. Very well written. I was amazed at the strength these women had
Gayla
Very interesting. I had previously heard of a couple of these women, but did not realize there were so many more.
Heidi
Pretty good, sometimes the author interjected a little too much "what if" opinion.
Kelly Karasiewicz
Not many books about women's roles in the Civil War. Very interesting, true stories.
Laura
This one was interesting although I was not fond of the prose style.
Ashley Mayer
This is a good book about some amazing women!
Tracie
What a great read! So fascinating!
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