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Download Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy fb2, epub

by Elizabeth R. Varon

Download Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy fb2, epub

ISBN: 0195179897
Author: Elizabeth R. Varon
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 24, 2005)
Pages: 336
Category: Americas
Subcategory: History
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 106
Size Fb2: 1620 kb
Size ePub: 1278 kb
Size Djvu: 1862 kb
Other formats: lrf lit azw docx


Elizabeth R. Varon (born December 16, 1963) is an American historian, and Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at. .

Elizabeth R. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy, Oxford University Press, USA, 2003, ISBN 9780195142280. Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859. Univ of North Carolina Press.

Varon Elizabeth R. (EN).

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy book. Varon A well-documented, scholarly biography of Elizabeth Van Lew, the veritable spymaster at the center of the Unionist resistance movement in Richmond, VA during the Civil War. But with stories about secret codes and invisible ink, the nighttime exhumation of the body of a fallen Union officer, a daring underground prison escape and all manner of subterfuge and daring, much of the book reads like an espionage novel. How did Van Lew get away with so much right before the eyes of the opposition?

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy. The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent .

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy. The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy.

Author: Elizabeth R. Varon. Publication: March 24, 2005. Elizabeth Van Lew: Civil War Spy (Signature Lives: Civil War Era): A biography profiling the life of Elizabeth Van Lew, a spy who worked for the Union during the Civil War. Includes source notes and timeline. Discover ideas about Southern Ladies. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. Southern Ladies Reading Material In The Heart Richmond Virginia Memoirs Love Book Biography Spy American History. Katherine Lowry Logan - Romance Author.

Van Lew organized a spy ring in the heart of the Confederacy and Bowser, with her photographic memory and . Word of Van Lew’s efforts to help the Union reached military leaders in the North, namely General Benjamin Butler, who sent a representative to recruit her as a Union spy.

Van Lew organized a spy ring in the heart of the Confederacy and Bowser, with her photographic memory and incredible acting skills, was able to relay critical intelligence to Van Lew, which would then make its way to the Union. Spying on the most elite members of the Confederacy required the deception of more than just the enemy.

At first glance, Elizabeth Van Lew was your everyday typical Richmonder, but she was a resident with a massive secret. Van Lew, while living in the heart of the Confederacy, sympathized with the Union. She pretended to be a Confederate and celebrated with her neighbors when their troops had a victory, but deep down she despised them. In fact, she kept a secret diary where she wrote out her thoughts about anti-slavery and the barbarities of war. The First Battle of Manassas

Northern sympathizer in the Confederate capital, daring spymaster, postwar politician: Elizabeth Van Lew was one of the most remarkable figures in American history, a woman who defied the conventions of the nineteenth-century South. In Southern Lady, Yankee Spy, historian Elizabeth Varon provides a gripping, richly researched account of the woman who led what one historian called "the most productive espionage operation of the Civil War." Under the nose of the Confederate government, Van Lew ran a spy ring that gathered intelligence, hampered the Southern war effort, and helped scores of Union soldiers to escape from Richmond prisons.Varon describes a woman who was very much a product of her time and place, yet continually took controversial stands--from her early efforts to free her family's slaves, to her daring wartime activities and beyond. Varon's powerful biography brings Van Lew to life, showing how she used the stereotypes of the day to confound Confederate authorities (who suspected her, but could not believe a proper Southern lady could be a spy), even as she brought together Union sympathizers at all levels of society, from slaves to slaveholders. After the war, a grateful President Ulysses S. Grant named her postmaster of Richmond--a remarkable break with custom for this politically influential post. But her Unionism, Republican politics, and outspoken support of racial justice earned her a lifetime of scorn in the former Confederate capital. Even today, Elizabeth Van Lew remains a controversial figure in her beloved Richmond, remembered as the "Crazy Bet" of Lost Cause propaganda. Elizabeth Varon's account rescues her from both derision and oblivion, depicting an intelligent, resourceful, highly principled woman who remained, as she saw it, true to her country to the end.

Comments:

Braswyn
This is a terrific book on a figure in American history who deserves more attention. As far as I know, at this point it's the leading, authoritative bio on Elizabeth Van Lew at this point, particularly because it effectively and convincingly dispels myths that have surrounded her for so long--most notably the inaccuracy about Bet being "crazy" or feigning mental illness in order to spy.

The book also provides a great picture of Civil War and post-Civil War Richmond as well as rapidly evolving times after the war, with all the factions, political dynamics, and cultural change bubbling at the time. Given Van Lew's life arc, the story is a classically tragic one--a hero who struggles and is met with disappointment after disappointment in the years following her moment of greatness, the moment of her great contribution to a nation.

One question I would have for author Veron is why she didn't tackle the question of whether Van Lew was abused by her caregiver/relative during her later years.Even if the author disputes that supposition, it would seem to be something to be addressed, given that Van Lew's journal seems to suggest it.

That does not detract from the book's overall effect and importance. It's a must-read for those interested in Richmond history, unsung Civil War heroes (such as women and African Americans), and the complexities of a city and state that--to the surprise of many, I'm sure--were home to a strong pro-Union faction (loyalists). Thanks to Veron for a big contribution.
Tantil
This book was purchased for a class. It provides a nice narrative on both gender and Civil War history.
RED
A fascinating, true story...well told and written...
Thetahuginn
Interesting. She was a very brave and dedicated woman. She did not get enough recognition and thanks. I Han never even heard of her or woman like her before from history books. She risked her life and gave up so much.
MarF
Excellent. Lots of research and very we'll written.
Kipabi
I read this book to learn the truth about a Van Lew slave ending up as a spy in the Jefferson Davis household. To that end I appreciated the in depth documentation as well as the information about “the mysterious Mary Elizabeth Bowser.” Though Varon draws no hard fast conclusions about Bowser, the footnotes provide information to help me continue my own investigation.

I did not know about Mary Richard until I read this book, nor that there is another theory that Bowser was in truth the Davis servant, named Ellen Bond. Ah…the mystery continues…but at least I have learned that “Crazy Bet” is a myth, as well as a whole lot more about the War between the States than I cared to know.

_Hope Irvin Marston, author of EYE ON THE IDITAROD: AISLING’S QUEST
KiddenDan
I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of positive reviews. I found the book to be an excellent addition to the Civil War library. It's consideration of the role and activities of women in this case Elizabeth Van Lew distinguishes this contribution. Often, CW buffs become immersed in battles, generals, and politics of the time. This book is a welcome respite from the male dominated battlefield and offers a perspective of the life and times of the Richmond community. It is an engaging read that will allow many to learn more about this forgotten patriot.
I do agree that more maps would have been helpful (I've been to Chimborazo hospital and would have benefited from understanding the proximity of Van Lew to the hospital).
An excellent read. Great present for those interested in the role women have played in shaping the country.
.
I am the great-great grandson of Elizabeth's brother, discussed extensively in the book. Ms. Varon has admirably fleshed out with documented sources many of the accounts passed down through our family. She has (thankfully) quite thoroughly debunked the 'Crazy Bet' nonsense that always bothered those of us who knew something of the real story. In that respect it is a valuable and enjoyable work. Most satisfying was the evident skill with which the author develops the paradox of northerners, starting with Elizabeth's father who came to Richmond in 1807 from New Jersey at age 17, becoming so thoroughly southern that her brother could marry into some of the bluest blood Virginia ever produced.

The book, however, would have been even better had Ms. Varon taken the time to develop a chapter on Elizabeth's sister-in-law, Mary Carter West. They did /not/ get along, and the Secession Crisis blew the Van Lew marriage apart along some already weak seams.

Mary was directly descended from four of the most important families in Virginia -- the Carters, Harrisons, Randolphs, and Wests. Robert E Lee's mother was a Carter cousin. President Harrison was a great-uncle. Mary's brother Thomas enlisted with the 27th Virginia Infantry less than a month after Fort Sumter was shelled, and was one of a handful of original enlistees still alive to surrender at Appomatox. The battle of Malvern Hill (1862) was literally in the West family's front yard.

In fairness to Ms. Varon I should note that she did mention Mary's departure from the family (family lore says that Elizabeth drove her out of the house) and subsequent (1864) testimony intended to finger the Van Lews as traitors. The topic area simply could have been substantially better developed and would have greatly deepened the reader's understanding of what a cauldron the Van Lew household was at the beginning of the war. The historical importance of this is that it is a particularly forceful and poignant example of what was a relatively common situation in Virginia. Most aren't as richly documented.

One area in which I would actively fault the author is that she repeatedly superimposes a late 20th century political correctness framework on a very different era. Example: Elizabeth is described as being a victim of "ageism" late in life.

Then there is the paucity of maps to set geographical context for readers unfamiliar with the area and its historic sites. The map of Richmond has no scale, which is sort of lame, but I'm being picky here. She also stumbles around in trying to understand the Mary Bowser connection, whereby the Van Lew ring supposedly had an operative in President Davis's very household.

On the other hand, her explanation of the 19th century understanding of death and how it related to the famous Col Dahlgren re-burial was delightfully helpful in clarifying an event that otherwise doesn't make much sense, given the huge risks for the parties involved.

All in all, this is vastly better than the other Van Lew books out there, some of which are pure bunk. It is enjoyable and generally well written. Ms. Varon is to be thanked for giving us a valuable window into the American story as experienced by one family -- at a crucial time, in a vital place.

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