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CIVIL WAR SPY
Written by Ann Blackman
A unique observation of an all too familiar war from the seldom-viewed perspective of a spy behind the Yankee lines. It is interesting that, in the early days, everyone seem to accept what Rose Greenhow was doing, perhaps because they considered the rebellion in the south as a mere annoyance. Ann Blackman has provided an interesting biography of a person and an era. ... Charles Olin Durnette, CWRT Associates
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 moved to Washington, D.C., as a young woman and soon established herself as one of the capital’s most charming and influential socialites, an intimate of John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and Dolley Madison.
She married well, bore eight children and buried five, and, at the height of the Gold Rush, accompanied her husband Robert Greenhow to San Francisco. Widowed after Robert died in a tragic accident, Rose became notorious in Washington for her daring–and numerous–love affairs.
But with the outbreak of the Civil War, everything changed. Overnight, Rose Greenhow, fashionable hostess, become Rose Greenhow, intrepid spy. As Blackman reveals, deadly accurate intelligence that Rose supplied to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard written in a fascinating code (the code duplicated in the background on the jacket of this book). Her message to Beauregard turned the tide in the first Battle of Bull Run, and was a brilliant piece of spycraft that eventually led to her arrest by Allan Pinkerton and imprisonment with her young daughter.
Indomitable, Rose regained her freedom and, as the war reached a crisis, journeyed to Europe to plead the Confederate cause at the royal courts of England and France.
Drawing on newly discovered diaries and a rich trove of contemporary accounts, Blackman has fashioned a thrilling, intimate narrative that reads like a novel. Wild Rose is an unforgettable rendering of an astonishing woman, a book that will stand with the finest Civil War biographies.
Ann Blackman is the author of Seasons of Her Life: A Biography of Madeleine Korbel Albright and co-author of The Spy Next Door, about the traitorous FBI agent Robert Hanssen. In her long career as a news reporter with Time magazine and the Associated Press, Blackman covered American politics, social policy, and the powerful personalities that make up Washington society. She is married to Michael Putzel. They have two grown children and live in the nation’s capital.
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Pub Date: June 2005
Also available as an eBook.
“This is a fascinating tale of intrigue and suspense. Blackman has discovered some truly remarkable, never-before-published papers that reveal how deeply involved Rose Greenhow was in the Confederate cause.”
–Cokie Roberts, National Public Radio commentator, author of Founding Mothers