“Roberts is a gifted narrator of Civil War history, weaving the experiences and perspectives of the women into a fresh and illuminating account of key battles and events.”-Washington Post
“Cokie Roberts regularly dissects the power dynamics of modern-day Washington. As an author, though, she's demonstrated a special regard for the farther reaches of American history and its behind-the-scenes players.”-New York Times Book Review
With the outbreak of the Civil War, the small, social Southern town of Washington, D.C., found itself caught between warring sides in a battle to determine the future of the United States. Drawing on newspaper articles, government records, and private letters and diaries, many never before published, Capital Dames introduces the resilient and remarkable women of Washington.
As the war remodeled the city first into an immense Union Army camp and later a hospital, women enlisted as nurses, supply organizers, relief workers, and journalists. Many risked their lives making munitions, toiled at the Treasury Department printing greenbacks to finance the war, and sewed canvas gunpowder bags for the troops at the Navy Yard. In this compelling story of a Southern society town's transformation into a center of national power, Roberts shows us how the Capital City spread its influence as a result of the war and how the women who had once been self-described “belles” evolved into purposeful activists, writers, and organizers, changing forever the role of women in American society.
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