Aug 20, 2010

Nostalgic Friday: Behind Rebel Lines

Welcome back to Nostalgic Friday! Since I love all things historical (culturally, physically, and personally) I do a post on Fridays honoring some awesome book that is a bit older. Many of them are books I enjoyed in my teens and others are books that I discovered as an adult that I think are relevant to YA readers.

This book is actually a true story about a girl, Emma Edmonds, who managed to conceal her female identity and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Seymour Reit published this book in 1988 using Emma's own memoirs & his own research.

As a passionate 16 year old, Emma Edmonds ran away from her Canadian home and to the land of freedom and opportunity. In 1861, at the tender age of 21, Emma enlisted in the Union Army to serve her chosen nation. She cut her hair and studied the men around her to make sure that she gave a convincing performance. After working as a field nurse for some time, she decided her disguise was working so well that she could convince anyone of anything. She became a Union spy in Confederate territory, pretending to be anything from a slave to a washerwoman.

This book was so much fun to read! While much of the dialogue is made-up, the battles that Emma participated in actually happened. They were real and she really did everything she says she did. I was such a tomboy as a kid that this book really appealed to me. It also appealed to the amateur historian in me. It was quite fascinating to read about the time period, the social mores and expectations, and how Emma smashed every bit of them into the ground. I was quite amazed by her daring. If you know any history fans or want to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, this non-fiction book reads just like fiction and is sure to entertain!

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