10 books like Women of the Civil War (Women Who Dare)

By Michelle A Krowl,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Women of the Civil War (Women Who Dare). Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Behind the Rifle

By Shelby Harriel,

Book cover of Behind the Rifle: Women Soldiers in Civil War Mississippi

When Lauren Cook and I published They Fought Like Demons, we knew that our book, although groundbreaking, was only the tip of the iceberg in the story of women soldiers in the Civil War, and we always hoped that another scholar would pick up the torch and move the story forward.  Shelby Harriel has done just that.  Behind the Rifle is a meticulously researched and ably written account of the distaff soldiers who hailed from Mississippi, or found themselves there.  Citing previously unknown sources along with revealing newly-located photographs, Harriel’s contribution to the history of women soldiers is remarkable.

Behind the Rifle

By Shelby Harriel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Behind the Rifle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the Civil War, Mississippi's strategic location bordering the Mississippi River and the state's system of railroads drew the attention of opposing forces who clashed in major battles for control over these resources. The names of these engagements-Vicksburg, Jackson, Port Gibson, Corinth, Iuka, Tupelo, and Brice's Crossroads-along with the narratives of the men who fought there resonate in Civil War literature. However, Mississippi's chronicle of military involvement in the Civil War is not one of men alone. Surprisingly, there were a number of female soldiers disguised as males who stood shoulder to shoulder with them on the firing lines across…


Tara Revisited

By Catherine Clinton,

Book cover of Tara Revisited: Women, War, & the Plantation Legend

This book completely debunks every romantic Old South and Lost Cause myth. Relying on a plethora of primary sources, especially letters and diaries, Clinton reveals the real and often heartbreaking lives of white plantation women and black enslaved women. Always an engaging writer, Clinton narrates the deep and troubled subject with empathy and a level hand. 

Tara Revisited

By Catherine Clinton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tara Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Combining period photographs and illustrations with documentary sources, this work relates the story of southern women during the American Civil War: the African-American women who struggled for freedom; the nurses who faced gruesome duties; and the women who spied and died for the Confederacy.


All the Daring of the Soldier

By Elizabeth D. Leonard,

Book cover of All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies

This book is the best introduction to the many women who cast off traditional gender roles, and served the armies of the Union and Confederacy as spies, vivandierres, and soldiers.  Leonard uses contemporary sources to prove that valor, complexity, and patriotism are not the sole purviews of men.  This well-written book will make readers want to find out more about the Civil War women who refused to stay in their socially-mandated place.

All the Daring of the Soldier

By Elizabeth D. Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Daring of the Soldier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth Leonard has unearthed the stories of the hidden and forgotten women who risked their lives in the American Civil War. These women spied for their cause, remained on the front line as daughters of the regiment, and even enlisted to fight as men. Leonard investigates why they chose unconventional ways to play their part in the war and gives us a striking portrait of American women's lives in the 19th century.


Three Weeks At Gettysburg

By Georgeanna Muirson Woolsey Bacon,

Book cover of Three Weeks At Gettysburg

This pamphlet, although only 24 pages, is one of the best first-hand depictions of Civil War nursing.  Miss Woolsey and her mother travelled to Gettysburg in the aftermath of the battle and immediately launched into the nursing ranks of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.  She published her account shortly after returning home, when her services were no longer needed.

Three Weeks At Gettysburg

By Georgeanna Muirson Woolsey Bacon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Weeks At Gettysburg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Title: Three weeks at Gettysburg.

Author: Bacon, Georgeanna Muirson Woolsey

Publisher: Gale, Sabin Americana

Description:

Based on Joseph Sabin's famed bibliography, Bibliotheca Americana, Sabin Americana, 1500--1926 contains a collection of books, pamphlets, serials and other works about the Americas, from the time of their discovery to the early 1900s. Sabin Americana is rich in original accounts of discovery and exploration, pioneering and westward expansion, the U.S. Civil War and other military actions, Native Americans, slavery and abolition, religious history and more.

Sabin Americana offers an up-close perspective on life in the western hemisphere, encompassing the arrival of the Europeans on…


Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

By Karen Abbott,

Book cover of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

As not only a reader but also as a writer I enjoy coming at significant moments in American history through distinct experiences and characters, with all of their talents and trials and shortcomings explored along the way. This look at the Civil War is intimate and engrossing, taking readers through tremendous conflict with four very unique women as their guides.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

By Karen Abbott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“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

Karen Abbott, the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and “pioneer of sizzle history” (USA Today), tells the spellbinding true story of four women - a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow - who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle…


Confederate Reckoning

By Stephanie McCurry,

Book cover of Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South

A great book for teaching me how much the wartime experiences and political resistance of the soldiers’ wives and the slaves impacted the fate of the Confederacy and pushed it in directions never imagined by the planters who created the Confederacy to serve their interests and not the majority of the population they expected to do their bidding. 

Confederate Reckoning

By Stephanie McCurry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Confederate Reckoning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize
Winner of the Merle Curti Award

"McCurry strips the Confederacy of myth and romance to reveal its doomed essence. Dedicated to the proposition that men were not created equal, the Confederacy had to fight a two-front war. Not only against Union armies, but also slaves and poor white women who rose in revolt across the South. Richly detailed and lucidly told, Confederate Reckoning is a fresh, bold take on the Civil War that every student of the conflict should read."
-Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic

"McCurry challenges…


Wild Rose

By Ann Blackman,

Book cover of Wild Rose: The True Story of a Civil War Spy

Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to think of spies as cloak-and-dagger types driving Jaguars and carrying machine pistols and exploding gadgets. But spying really is the second-oldest profession. Ann Blackman’s beautifully told narrative of Washington socialite Rose O’Neal Greenhow, who became a highly successful Confederate spy during the Civil War, is a good reminder that a smart, deceptive human – female or male – can change the course of wars.

Wild Rose

By Ann Blackman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Rose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For sheer bravado and style, no woman in the North or South rivaled the Civil War heroine Rose O’Neale Greenhow. Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself. In this superb portrait, biographer Ann Blackman tells the surprising true story of a unique woman in history.

“I am a Southern woman, born with revolutionary blood in my veins,” Rose once declared–and that fiery spirit would plunge her into the center of power and the thick of adventure. Born into a slave-holding family, Rose…


Women at the Front

By Jane E. Schultz,

Book cover of Women at the Front: Hospital Workers in Civil War America

This volume offers a survey of Civil War nurses in both the North and the South. Not only do readers meet individuals like Clara Barton, but readers get an overview of pioneering women in this field, with detailed statistics not found in memoirs.

Women at the Front

By Jane E. Schultz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women at the Front as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As many as 20,000 women worked in Union and Confederate hospitals during America's bloodiest war. Black and white, and from various social classes, these women served as nurses, administrators, matrons, seamstresses, cooks, laundresses, and custodial workers. Jane Schultz provides the first full history of these female relief workers and shows how the domestic and military arenas merged in Civil War America, blurring the line between homefront and battle-front. Examining the lives and legacies of Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Susie King Taylor, and others, Schultz demonstrates that class, race, and gender roles linked female workers with soldiers, both black and white.…


On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon

By Kaye Gibbons,

Book cover of On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon

From her shocking first sentence to her final transcendent words, the narrator compelled me to travel with her through her memories of a lifetime on what might well be her last afternoon. In fact, I read the book in a single day, a unique experience for me since I am a slow reader who hears every word and pictures every action in my mind. Drawn to both reading and writing with a Southern Gothic sensibility, I was spellbound by the unfolding tale of a complex and courageous woman’s survival during the era of the American Civil War. This novel reads like a mesmerizing dramatic monologue delivered on the stage of history.

On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon

By Kaye Gibbons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emma Garnet, the heroine of Kaye Gibbons's sixth novel, takes the reader on a Southern journey through place and time, from 1842 to 1900. We see her first as a plantation owner's daughter, pampered by servants yet self-taught in subjects not then in the woman's sphere. As a girl, she does not question the South's peculiar institution, but gradually she recognizes the brutality of slavery. Still, during the Civil War, she works tirelessly in a Southern military hospital, ministering to the wounded out of her fervent sense of loyalty to the South. Throughout the conflict Emma Garnet contains her own…


The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

By Elaine Showalter,

Book cover of The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: A Biography

Howe is best known for writing the song that inspired countless Northerners during the Civil War, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Showalter pulls back the curtain on Howe’s life to reveal a woman stuck in a bad marriage with a stifling husband, overwhelmed by childbearing and rearing. Howe took up writing, first completing a novel before turning to poetry. She embraced the abolitionist movement and after the Civil War--after writing her most famous work--focused her energy on women’s rights, serving as president of the American Woman Suffrage Association.

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

By Elaine Showalter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A “lively biography” (The New Yorker) of Julia Ward Howe, the powerful feminist pioneer and author of the Civil War anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Julia Ward (1819–1910) was an heiress who married a handsome accomplished doctor who worked with the blind and deaf. But Samuel Howe wasted her inheritance, mistreated and belittled her, and tried to stifle her intellect and freedom. Nevertheless Julia persisted and wrote poetry and a mildly shocking sexual novel that was published to good reviews. She also wrote the words to probably the most famous anthem in the country’s history—the Civil War anthem, “Battle…


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