This set, as the subtitle reads, of “20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue” is a collection of stories for young readers about largely forgotten women who served in some capacity to help America’s cause in the revolution against British rule. Not only did these women take courageous actions in spite of grave dangers to themselves and their families, but they did so at a time in which women were discouraged from doing anything at all outside the home.
The book is divided into four sections: Resisters, Supporters and Rescuers; Spies; Saboteurs; Soldiers and Defenders of the Home Front; and Legendary Ladies.
Those profiled include Sybil Ludington, the 16-year-old who out-rode Paul Revere to warn Patriots that the British were coming; Phillis Wheatley, the young black slave who became a published poet; Mary Katherine Goddard, who published a newspaper; Lydia Darragh, a spy for George Washington; Mary Lindley Murray, who threw a party to detain the British while the Patriots escaped; Deborah Gannett, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Revolutionary Army for three years, and more.
Perhaps the most unsatisfying section was the one on “Legendary Ladies” because the activities and even identities of these women could not be verified. There were also some important omissions, like Mercy Otis Warren and Emily Geiger.
On the whole, however, this books makes an important contribution to the usual literature on the Revolution, which is almost exclusively centered on men.
Images, source notes, and a bibliography are included.
Published by Chicago Review Press, 2015