The Women Spies of the Civil War, with Karen Abbott

January 20, 2015

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

This week on Point of inquiry, New York Times bestselling author Karen Abbott talks to Lindsay Beyerstein about her newest book, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, which tells the true story of four women who served as spies during the U.S. Civil War.

In a time when women had few of the rights they would later win for themselves, the need for espionage turned out to be an early and important step in the fight for women’s suffrage. These bold women went to extraordinary lengths to fight for their respective sides, taking on various roles to gain information, even posing as men. The risk of being discovered was as much a concern during a military medical exam as it was when they were simply attempting to wear men’s pants properly.