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She Went to the Field: Women Soldiers of the Civil War Hardcover – September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot; 1st edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762724382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762724383
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,478,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"From my early childhood," wrote Loreta Janeta Velazquez, aka Confederate Army Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, "Joan of Arc was my favorite heroine." Inspired by the Maid of Orlean's zeal for the glorious fields of battle, Velazquez/Buford, as well as the other women profiled in this collection of short biographies, had an often-overlooked influence on the course of the Civil War. While some of Tsui's subjects are nurses, spies and genteel abolitionists whose fighting was done more in drawing rooms than on battlefronts, most chapters recount the tales of cross-dressing warriors who hid their gender beneath either blue or gray uniforms. They were, according to the author, infatuated with the glory of war and driven by a patriotic quest. That's as far as Tsui goes, however, in illuminating her subjects' motivations. Aside from the cursory mention of lovers, families and death-defying moments, she does not delve deeply into the psychology of these unusual soldiers. (Tsui admits that these women did not leave behind many personal testimonies, save for a few memoirs and diary entries.) There is plenty of information, however, about how women served the war effort. From the "daughters of the regiment," an informal group of camp-followers, laundresses and nurses, to the vivandieres, food vendors and morale boosters whose presence among the troops was rooted in a Napoleonic tradition, the dynamism with which women served among the ranks is well documented. Tsui rounds out her book with profiles of valiant nurses, like Clara Barton, as well as of abolitionists-turned-spies Elizabeth Van Lew and Harriet Tubman. Using a swift, efficient prose style, Tsui, a magazine writer and editor, assembles her facts into competently written summaries. In the end, this thorough but dry historical account succeeds in stoking our desire to learn more about these brave women. 13 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

She Went to the Field: Women Soldiers of the Civil War tells the little-known, true stories of the brave women who boldly challenged gender boundaries during The War Between the States. Whether disguising themselves as male soldiers or participating in related military capacities as spies, nurses, and vivandieres, these heroic women deserve to be recognized both for their contributions to the war and to women's rights.
Written in an engaging style, this book draws the reader into what has been, until recently, a mere side note in Civil War history. From Frances Clayton (aka Frances Clalin), who fought for the Union in eighteen battles and was wounded three times, to Sarah Edmonds (aka Private Frank Thompson, Union), who released a memoir detailing her adventures before the war even ended, these women patriots and their sisters played a vital ¿ and often overlooked ¿ role on the battlefield and behind the scenes.


More About the Author

Bonnie Tsui is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. A graduate of Harvard University and a former editor at Travel + Leisure, she has written for The Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic Adventure, Salon, and Conde Nast Traveller, among other publications. She is the editor of A Leaky Tent Is a Piece of Paradise, a collection of essays on the outdoors, and is a recipient of the Radcliffe Traveling Fellowship, the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism, and the Jane Rainie Opel Award from the Radcliffe Institute, for outstanding contribution to her profession. She lives in San Francisco with her husband.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Andrea N. Goldstein on March 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have been researching women soldiers in the Civil War for five years now, and feel that I am quite qualified to write that this book is below par. Bonnie Tsui repeats what has been written in several other books, not revealing any new information about these remarkable women. She over-uses DeAnne Blanton and Lauren Cooke Burgess's excellent <i>They Fought Like Demons</i>, and I felt that Tsui only became interested in this topic because of that book. I also felt that Tsui wouldn't have gotten this book published had she not graduated from Harvard and had the resulting "connections."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Miss V. on October 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I should have listened to the other reviewers before purchasing this book. The information in the book is gleaned from other notable writers of the Civil War, and doesn't provide any new information, only rather a synopsis from those other writings on the same subject - even the photographs used are from those other books. This reads like a class assignment about the Civil War, something with which I am well familiar as I am pursuing an M.A. in History. Stick with the noted authors like McPherson, Faust, etc., for this type of information.
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By patricia Harvey on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved reading the book. It arrived in excellent shape! Wonderful look in the history of womanhood! would love to read more about the subject!
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By Tammie on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after it was recommended from a friend. It is well written, keeps you reading and gives you a wonderful insight into the lives of these remarkable women!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hitesh mMmanglani on September 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Tsui's treatment of this infrequently visited aspect of the civil war is honest, historically accurate, and captivating. She writes with a subtlty found only in the best historical authors.
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