A compact but dense book supplies facts and legends surrounding approximately 20 women in the American Colonies who furthered the cause of the Revolutionary War.
The book’s layout is not unlike a history textbook from the 1960s, with its small, black-and-white photographic reproductions and the sidebars of black print on gray background. Whether readers are skimming for information about several women or concentrating on one individual, the best approach is to first read the excellent author’s note, which briefly explores women’s widely varying involvement in the American Revolution and the difficulties inherent in the research, and the introduction, which quickly summarizes the lead-up to the war. There are many fascinating stories, carefully described as possibly true, including the outrageous but persistent tale of “Mammy Kate” rescuing a condemned soldier—her slavemaster—by carrying him out of prison in a covered basket balanced on her head. The stories are often weighed down by facts that would be better as footnotes and sidebars: some source explanations; names of all the children in large broods; unnecessary lineage details; the code numbers for every individual in a spy ring. Helpful, sometimes-humorous touches include explanations of archaic activities, lifestyles and social mores; well-documented primary and secondary sources; and clear instructions on how to read a political cartoon.
A good starting point for further research. (glossary, notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 12-16)