sheer bravado and style, no woman in the North or South rivaled the
Civil War heroine Rose O’Neale Greenhow. Fearless spy for the
Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover,
Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life
itself. In this superb portrait, biographer Ann Blackman tells the
surprising true story of a unique woman in history.
“I am a
Southern woman, born with revolutionary blood in my veins,” Rose once
declared–and that fiery spirit would plunge her into the center of
power and the thick of adventure. Born into a slave-holding family,
Rose moved to Washington, D.C., as a young woman and soon established
herself as one of the capital’s most charming and influential
socialites, an intimate of John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and Dolley
She married well, bore eight children and buried
five, and, at the height of the Gold Rush, accompanied her husband
Robert Greenhow to San Francisco. Widowed after Robert died in a tragic
accident, Rose became notorious in Washington for her daring–and
But with the outbreak of the Civil War,
everything changed. Overnight, Rose Greenhow, fashionable hostess,
become Rose Greenhow, intrepid spy. As Blackman reveals, deadly
accurate intelligence that Rose supplied to General Pierre G. T.
Beauregard written in a fascinating code (the code duplicated in the
background on the jacket of this book). Her message to Beauregard
turned the tide in the first Battle of Bull Run, and was a brilliant
piece of spycraft that eventually led to her arrest by Allan Pinkerton
and imprisonment with her young daughter.
regained her freedom and, as the war reached a crisis, journeyed to
Europe to plead the Confederate cause at the royal courts of England
Drawing on newly discovered diaries and a rich trove
of contemporary accounts, Blackman has fashioned a thrilling, intimate
narrative that reads like a novel. Wild Rose is an unforgettable
rendering of an astonishing woman, a book that will stand with the
finest Civil War biographies.
From the Hardcover edition.