Southern Lady Yankee Spy Analysis

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“Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy” is a biography written by Elizabeth R. Varon and published by Oxford University Press in 2003. This book has 317 pages including the List of Abbreviations, Notes, and Index and 261 pages excluding these items. The purpose of this book is to inform the reader of the life of Elizabeth Van Lew while trying to fix how she is viewed in American History. Elizabeth Van Lew was an elite, southern woman born in 1818 in Richmond, Virginia. Her parents were of northern descent, which influenced her political views before, during, and after the Civil War. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Elizabeth became a spymaster for Ulysses Grant. …show more content…
This is shown by explaining that before the Civil War, the Van Lew family, including Elizabeth, were Whigs. After the war, it is said that Elizabeth became a Republican as the political parties changed. Both the Whig and Republican parties share similar opposition to the Democratic Party; however, over the course of the American Civil War, the Whig party began to split forming the Republican Party and the Conservative Party, showing an alteration in the American political …show more content…
This gives a new perspective to look at the Civil War from by allowing readers to see that slavery was not condoned by all southerners. Along with specifying a certain person and place, “Southern Lady, Yankee Spy” also combines the problems and struggles of the American Civil War and the struggles of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Elizabeth Van Lew was an abolitionist. Along with this, she was a women’s rights activist, challenging the reader’s concept of the Civil War, which would typically be thought of as very separate from the Women’s Suffrage Movement, by showing the relationships between the two events in American History. Overall, “Southern Lady, Yankee Spy” is an informative and well-articulated book and for the most part, it is not confusing. The only weak element of the book is its usage of names. For example, it would say, “A strong Federal leader was needed to assert control over the resurgent Confederates, Wardell suggested….” There is no clarification of who Wardell is on that page and the last time he was talked about was several chapters ago. It is difficult to keep up with all of the

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