Review: They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War

women soldiersTitle: They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil WarAuthor: De Anne Blanton, Lauren M. Cook

I reenact the War Between the States and I am constantly on the lookout for new books to read. I came across this book and decided it would be an interesting topic of study. When I picked up this book, I expected to read a book that would delve into the letters written by women who served in the Union and Confederate armies to illustrate their lives as soldiers. I was disappointed when the authors failed to rely on the letters as the primary source of their subject, and instead they decided to flaunt liberal feminism as the model which all women during the period of the War Between the States should have ascribed to.

The facts that are brought to light by the authors are truly astounding, such as how these women enlisted, how they were able to live undetected in camp, but the book could have been much better if it had kept the letters of/about the women as the primary source of the subject.

Another thing that bothered me was how the authors arrived at some presumptuous statistics with so few source documents. The authors admit that their is only evidence for 250 women who served in the War Between the States, yet they compare statistics from these 250 women against the statistics of the 3,300,000 men who served. These sort of statistics are dubious at best.

I admire the authors for writing a book on such a topic. I just wish they would have let the source documents speak for themselves instead of flaunting liberal feminism as the ideal for women during the War Between the States.