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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

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  36 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.
Paperback, 334 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Cumberland House Publishing (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Mar 05, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 18, 2013 Aimeeshirk rated it liked it
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.
Aug 31, 2011 Lady rated it it was amazing
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.
May 21, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 4-stars
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.
Ashley Simpson
Jul 31, 2016 Ashley Simpson rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maggie Maxfield
Mar 25, 2016 Maggie Maxfield rated it liked it
This book took me a month to get through. My first impressions of this book included judgments like "dry," "spliced," "wandering," and "chauvinistic," so I took a break. During that recess, though, I found myself thinking a lot about the stories. I kept referring back to its Civil War details to frame other encounters with events of this era. (There were a lot in that 2-week period: TV shows, radio spots, other books, etc. Coincidence? I think not.) So I went back and finished it, because ...more
Oct 28, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
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
Nov 23, 2010 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: civil-war
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.
Aug 11, 2012 Desiree rated it liked it
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.
Aug 20, 2016 Katelyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Each chapter briefly describes a woman spy during the civil war and its done extremely well. I'm not a big reader of nonfiction so I'm always happy to find one I enjoy. I think I liked this because the writing is simple and direct and I didn't feel a need to know much going in. I enjoyed that each chapter covered just enough on each individual to inspire me to look up more. I learned things I didn't know before and now have a heater interest on lady spies in the Civil War.
Sep 03, 2012 Drusilla rated it liked it
"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.
Mar 05, 2013 Jason rated it liked it
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.
Margo Brooks
Apr 23, 2014 Margo Brooks rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
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.
Feb 09, 2011 Liz rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
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.
Mar 08, 2012 kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2012, nonfiction
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.

Nov 21, 2015 Lee rated it liked it
An interesting book which tells short stories of female spies, saboteurs and scouts on both sides during the Civil War. He tells the stories of the famous one, Belle Boyd, Elizabeth Lew and Rose Greenhow along with many other not well known ones. Some of the stories are brief and leave a lot of details lacking as many of the Union and Confederate records from the period were lost.
Jul 25, 2011 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 28, 2013 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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 ;)
Jan 28, 2011 Melyssa rated it it was amazing
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.
Lorraine Crawford
Jul 20, 2015 Lorraine Crawford rated it liked it
Each chapter of this book profiled a different woman's spying efforts in the civil war. While illuminating, the book read like a textbook, with a very dry style. I ended up only reading a few chapter.
Maureen Mahowald
Jan 22, 2012 Maureen Mahowald rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 01, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Lots of interesting information about the amazing feats of women during the Civil War (for both sides).
L Greyfort
Oct 07, 2011 L Greyfort rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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.
Apr 10, 2013 Gayla rated it really liked it
Very interesting. I had previously heard of a couple of these women, but did not realize there were so many more.
Mar 10, 2013 Laurie rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2013 Robin Mcnemar rated it it was amazing
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
Alicia rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2013
Matt Hotopp
Matt Hotopp rated it liked it
Mar 06, 2014
Layne Johnson
Layne Johnson rated it really liked it
Mar 25, 2013
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