Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

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Overview

In 1861, Emma Edmonds joined the Union Army. Cropping her hair and posing as a slave, a peddler, and a Southern gentleman, Emma became a master of disguise in service to her country.

Recounts the story of the Canadian woman who disguised herself as a man and slipped behind Confederate lines to spy for the Union army.

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Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

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Overview

In 1861, Emma Edmonds joined the Union Army. Cropping her hair and posing as a slave, a peddler, and a Southern gentleman, Emma became a master of disguise in service to her country.

Recounts the story of the Canadian woman who disguised herself as a man and slipped behind Confederate lines to spy for the Union army.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 According to the estimates of some historians, as many as 400 women fought in the Civil War disguised as men. One such woman was Emma Ed monds, 21 years old and Canadian born. She felt fiercely patriotic towards her adopted country, and was deter mined to fight for the Union. Not only did she serve as a field nurse, tending the wounded at the battle sites, but she also served as a Union spy. Reit has used Emma's own published memoirs (long out of print), research from the National Archives, and U. S. Army re cords. It should make for an exciting tale. Unfortunately, the finished prod uct doesn't measure up to its promise. The style is far too episodic, with little unity between adventures, and not enough fleshing out of events. Some fictionalizing of dialogue and thoughts occurs. This is most likely to appeal only to those with a frenzied obsession with the Civil War. Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, Tenn.
From the Publisher

“The story is fast-moving, and Emma’s spunk...is evident.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This stranger-than-fiction story will captivate history buffs and hold the attention of the most reluctant reader.”—Bank Street College of Education
“A suspense-filled account of a brave and loyal feminist.”—Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780780704497
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Pages: 130
  • Sales rank: 962,475
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


SEYMOUR REIT is the author of more than eighty books for young readers. An experienced animated cartoonist, he is also the creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Mr. Reit lives in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    Lovely Exhibition of Female Involvement in the Civil War.

    The incredible story of Emma Edmonds was wonderfully told by Seymour Reit. Reit portrayed Miss Edmond's courage and willingness to serve and protect the Union in the best way possible. Women did their part during the Civil War by sewing and caring for the sick, wounded, and dying. This wasn't enough for Emma. Reit tells of Emma's exploits in her early days as she lived them: hard and fast. The first months were routine and passed quickly for this reason. Reit briefly tells of this time and sets the background for the rest of Emma's story. He uses simple diction and syntax to progress the plot quickly, reflecting the fast-paced life at war. He goes into a bit more detail when the events in Emma's life get more and more serious and life-threatening. Reit extends crucial periods in Emma's life like when she breaks down after learning of her childhood friend Lieutenant Vesey's death and confides in Mrs. Butler, the chaplain's wife. Mrs. Butler becomes the confidant of Emma and someone who helps the heroine with crucial events and decisions. Mrs. Butler objects when Emma wishes to replace the Union spy that was captured, reflecting the views of what a woman's place was in society. Whatever dangerous mission Emma was sent on however, Mrs. Butler was always supportive of her friend. She was also supportive of Emma's most dangerous mission which took her into controversial Kentucky. There her mission was to snuff out a Confederate espionage operation without meeting the same fate as her predecessor. The brief summary of the mission is followed by Emma's illness of malaria which caused her to go AWOL in fear of her secret being discovered. Edmonds told of her actions and alias during the war in return for Franklin Thompson being cleared as a deserter and honorably discharged. This book shed light onto a magnificent young woman and her willingness to go beyond the female options to help the Union and put her life on the line.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2014

    if i was able to rate this 0 stars, i certainly would. this book

    if i was able to rate this 0 stars, i certainly would. this book is a waste of money, and time. not intriguing at all and bored me to death. please do not listen to other reviews if you are thinking of purchasing this book because it is utterly terrible.  

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2013

    A person requires much courage if they are going to become a sol

    A person requires much courage if they are going to become a soldier.
    It took a woman of great courage & bravery to freely decide to join the Union army of the Civil War.

    Although most people didn't know at the time, several women (at least 400) joined the army undercover during the Civil War, and no one ever suspected it. At the age of 21, that is what Emma Edmonds, a Canadian-born, did. This book fictionalizes her true story. Emma Edmonds enlisted under the name of Franklin Thompson, but it didn't stop there. The journey of her first alias led her into becoming a reliable spy for the Union. She created new characters for herself on almost every mission the army sent her on, so that her old characters wouldn't be recognized by the Rebel army.

    Bridget O'Shea, Irish peddler.
    Cuff, freed slave.
    Charles Mayberry, detective.

    Those are just a few of her undercover names & disguises. The lengths Emma went to in order to keep her true identity a secret for years from either army... Amazing.

    Behind Rebel Lines is one author's account of how the real Emma Edmond's story came to be. It is a simple, easy book to read, but I won't be forgetting what I learned. Recommended for ages 8-12, and up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    A Must Read

    My nephew requested a book about the Civil War. This book sounded like a winner. I read several other reviews on Behind Rebel Lines and they were all very good!

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Especially great to read with a young-adult!

    Behind Rebel Lines began in our home as my 13 year old son's classroom assignment and ended up being an engaging read with lots of depthful conversation. My son isn't a book worm per se, but when something's really good he'll read the entire thing in a sitting, be it a day or a weekend. He had misplaced his original copy, so I went off to buy a second one. He was so caught up in the story, he was literally calling me on my cell phone to see if I'd found another copy yet. Even though I'm a member here at B&N, I confess to first going to the book store closest to me. They had nothing, so off I went the extra mile which paid off... of course, they had it. My son finished it that night, and began telling me about it and how I should read it. I was so glad I did, as I found it extremely well written and engaging. We had some precious conversations about the characters and humanity. This is a great book to discuss with young minds who are still learning about our world.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    The most advencher filled book ever

    Behind rebel lines is educational and interestiing. It gives you an inside vew of the Civil War from a girl insted of a man.Seymour Reit made the story of emma come to live in a way all generations can enjoy.Emma's story is so thrilling you fell as if you are there and your emotions change as she goes on the missions. The book is a reall "CPD" cant put down.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    A great heroine...

    Behind Rebel Lines by Seymour Reit is an account on Emma Edmonds during the civil war. Emma disguised herself as a man so she could join the Union Army. She was very patriotic, so much as to risk her life a country that wasn¿t her birthplace. The book tells an accurately historical story of the events that took place, as she became a spy for Lincoln¿s army. She undergoes many obstacles and hardships while she is undercover in the south and performs things that leave you in awe. Her bravery and courage made her of the great heroines of the past. <BR/> This book was surprisingly enjoyable. It doesn¿t seem like much of a tale from the size of the book and its subject, but after the first few pages you realize you were wrong. There is plenty of action and suspense going on as Emma utilizes her mastery of disguise and espionage. You are kept on your toes knowing that at any given moment Emma could be discovered and her life taken.<BR/> The whole book is pretty much derived from her own memoirs so you know you are getting the real deal. All of the things going in the book were the things that Emma herself experienced. It¿s an awesome feeling when you know that what you¿re reading actually happened a few years ago.<BR/> From reading this book you will pick up quite a bit of information on the time of the Civil War. You¿ll learn about a women¿s role during the time and hopefully come to appreciate and contrast heroines of the past.<BR/> The book was an easy read. Simple vocabulary and fast moving plot. Scenes are faintly described, but level of detail is appropriate for the book¿s level. <BR/> The dialogue is fairly dull and can be quite boring. It has been adapted to fight the time period, but there isn¿t much uniqueness in the way that it reads. This hurts the characters¿ development, but not so much as to leave them without an identity. <BR/> I would recommend this book to anyone looking for quick and easy read. It would seem that a good age group for this book would be kids between ten and thirteen. <BR/> The book packs quite a punch in just a few pages and it¿s definitely worth checking out.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    absolutely fantastic

    It was written very well. It caught my attention everytime I read. I always wanted to keep reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2008

    Great Book

    this book was so great I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2007

    Don't like books, but loved this one!!!

    I HATE reading books, but I was forced to read this one. I LOVED IT!!! I must have read it over 10 times. Read it!!! It has you on the edge of your seat....and I didn't want to put it down.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2006

    a very poor book

    i think this book was very monotonous. i wouldnt recommend it to ,anyone even adults. im a student of a catholic school and for a certain report we had to read a type of nonfiction book soo my teacher recommended this book which i thought was great but really wasnt.im just suggesting to the publicnot to buy this book because you are just going to waste $6.00. its not worth it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    Best book ever!!!

    It is the best book i ever read! i would recommend it 2 evryone. It helped me understand so much more about the civil war and those kinda things. I would give this book a million stars if i could!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2004

    I loved This Book

    Oh My Gosh....i loved this book!It was so incredibly cool!I mean The First Sentence Came and i was glued to this book!!!!!It realy incouraged me to be bold and brave.I gave this book 5 stars because it was soo heartwarming and so beautifull!Kids from at least 4,5,6,7etcshould read this book!I really liked it and i think you are Too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2004

    A Must Read!

    This book is great for both boys and girls, and all ages. I couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2004

    Everyone should read this

    This is a great book it helped me understand more about what happened during the Civil War. And with Great detail.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2003

    Great, clifffhanging story

    the book was great it had great details and describiton

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2000

    This book is geat for children of all ages because....

    I think this book is excellent! the book is not to long, but keeps excitment and thrills all the way through! the book teaches good history and keeps childrens attention. There is no way to go wrong if you buy this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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