Miss Lizzie's War: The Double Life of Southern Belle Spy Elizabeth Van Lew

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Overview

As the Civil War ground on, an underground Unionist movement flourished in the heart of the

Confederacy, led by an unlikely leader. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy and well connected member of Richmond’s elite, risked everything to help save the Union, skillfully directing this clandestine group and becoming General Ulysses S. Grant’s spy in Richmond. Surrounded by a cadre of “slaves” secretly freed and working with her at the risk of their lives—and hers—Lizzie becomes a ...

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Miss Lizzie's War: The Double Life of Southern Belle Spy Elizabeth Van Lew

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Overview

As the Civil War ground on, an underground Unionist movement flourished in the heart of the

Confederacy, led by an unlikely leader. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy and well connected member of Richmond’s elite, risked everything to help save the Union, skillfully directing this clandestine group and becoming General Ulysses S. Grant’s spy in Richmond. Surrounded by a cadre of “slaves” secretly freed and working with her at the risk of their lives—and hers—Lizzie becomes a pivotal character in the narrative that reveals the complexity and horror of war and the possibility of ultimate redemption.

Based on an incredible true story, Lizzie's War revolves around a number of elements: the intrigue involved in Elizabeth’s double life, her scheme to plant a former slave as her spy in the Jefferson Davis home, her secret romance with a Union prisoner, the dangerous work and conspiracies entailed in running a spy network for the Federal Government in the Confederate capital, terrifying flights to freedom engineered by Elizabeth for escaped prisoners and slaves, and ongoing Confederate surveillance, investigations and arrests of Unionists.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1843, Elizabeth Van Lew, a prominent society woman in Richmond, Va., freed her family’s nine slaves and used her inheritance to also buy and free their relatives. When the Civil War began, she visited Union soldiers at the Richmond prison, bringing them food and supplies, and helping some escape. In the Confederacy, she led an underground Unionist movement, serving as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s spy and placing freed slave Mary Bowser as a spy in the home of Jefferson Davis. Agonito, author of the historical novel Buffalo Calf Road Woman: The Story of a Warrior at Little Big Horn, questionably blends fact and fiction about Van Lew (whose story has been told in a previous book and TV movie ), noting, “as a novelist I have, of course, taken liberties and imagined scenes to enhance dramatic effect.” In order to connect Van Lew with the battlefront, the author introduces the fictitious Maj. Allen Lee Rockwell, who serves as a romantic interest before he returns to battle. She also admits to introducing a group of fictional slaves who escape to Van Lew’s care, all raising the question of whether this account of a woman of rare courage should be considered a historical account at all. Map. Agent: Winifred Golden, Castiglia Agency. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762780129
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,363,024
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Agonito's first novel, Buffalo Calf Road Woman: The Story of a Warrior of the Little Bighorn , also based on a true story, won the prestigious 2006 Western Heritage Award for the Outstanding Western Novel. She has also authored five non-fiction books, many articles, and lectured widely on women’s history and issues.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 23, 2012

    if you start your story with every character named elizabeth, yo

    if you start your story with every character named elizabeth, you have to give your audience some clues. the main character is named elizabeth, and her best friend, eliza, and her mother, eliza, and a little baby, eliza. so, elizabeth's best friend, eliza, walks home, a few lines later, eliza is talking, and i'm flipping back going, wait a minute--i thought eliza went home. well, turns out, the mother is named eliza too. thanks for mentioning this. great editing. this is why fiction is dead. and it doesn't matter if this is based on a true story. you're not telling a true story, you are telling DRAMA. the true story happened a hundred and fity years ago. so set your characters apart. i read four pages, got so tired of flipping around, trying to figure out who is eliza, and elizabeth, flicked the book at the wall and turned on the tube.

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