Since the Fourth of July is coming up, a day of immense historical meaning to the United States, I chose to review Glory, Passion and Principle: The Story of Eight Remarkable Women at the Core of the American Revolution for the historical non-fiction challenge (2018 Reading Challenge).
Some of the women are famous, some lost to history, but Bohrer tells each life story in an engaging way that’s heavy on the facts but tempered by expert storytelling skill. The chapters read more like novellas than a textbook. The rich historical context is both specific to the woman and the world she inhabits. This context gives insight into motivations, actions and choices and elevate the work from a simple retelling of their lives.
The remarkable women are:
Sybil Ludington. The Paul Revere of her time. She traveled almost three times as far and wasn’t caught.
Phillis Wheatley. As a young slave, she defied rules and expectations by learning to read and write and produced some of the most eloquent poetry of her time.
Abigail Adams. As the wife of a president, she was considered by many to be an unofficial advisor. She was an early advocate for women’s equality and the abolition of slavery.
Mercy Otis Warren. Playwright and provocateur, her work inspired resistance against British authority even as she kept her identity a secret for years.
Lydia Darragh. She defied the Quaker principle of pacificism and neutrality to relay information about British military plans to Continental Army officers.
Molly Pitcher. Possibly real, possibly a legend, possibly composite or possibly Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley. One of thousands of ‘camp followers’ who helped serve the Continental Army by doing the daily chores like cleaning, laundering and carrying water. (Note: The real Mary Hays is credited with taking her husband’s place at the cannon when he was taken off the battlefield).
Deborah Sampson. Risked ostracism and expulsion from her church to disguise herself as a man and join the fight for independence.
Nancy Ward. Born Nanyehi, she became a Cherokee warrior and Beloved Woman who advocated for women to have more input in tribal matters and for peace between her people and white settlers.