Author: Cokie Roberts
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Summary: This was such a fascinating look at women in history! I enjoyed it and learned a lot too.
I’ve always thought that history tends to focus on men because the sexism of the past meant that men really were the only ones doing things. Both I and the male-focused histories have been very wrong! Capital Dames tells the story of the women in Washington during the Civil War and the many varied and important roles they played in that conflict. Women involved in Washington society continued to influence politics throughout the war, while other women took on new professions, from journalism to making munitions.
I’ll start with my only complaint about this book (one which hopefully will be fixed in the final version) – it needed a cast list! I loved that the author found so many stories to tell and I particularly enjoyed how varied these stories were. Together they showed what the war was like for people in the North and the South, for rich and poor, black and white. Unfortunately, the author didn’t always use the same names or nicknames for people and there were so many of them, it did sometimes become hard to keep track. With a tiny bit of flipping back and forth, this was still a fun, easy read. I breezed right through, hardly able to put it down.
As I mentioned in the intro, I was pleasantly surprised at the many important roles women played in the Civil War. I think the author did an incredible job searching out these stories and finding primary sources to help bring these women to life. I wish more history books took the time to include their stories too! Not only were these women an integral part of the story of the Civil War, the fact that their stories include both public service and domestic life made this a very well-rounded history. Re-learning the big events of the Civil War was valuable, but learning about daily life during the Civil War was at least as interesting. Obviously, I have to recommend this to fans of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. Although the focus of this book is a little more politics and a little less adventure, I enjoyed both books for many of the same reasons.
Are there any books about women in history that you’re recommend?