This review is for the audiobook version of Civil War Dames.
I enjoyed listening to this book, but I did have a hard time following the timeline. It was difficult to know when she was quoting the women and when she was summarizing. I also had a hard time keeping track of whose story she was telling. I understand the need to go back and forth between the women as time progressed, rather than telling each story fully and repeating the benchmark events, but different readers for each woman might have helped, or maybe dividing chapters out differently could have clarified things. I would have also appreciated dividing the parts into smaller sections, rather than in 50-70 minute blocks.
I did find the stories of the women very interesting, and the author did a good job of showing their individual personalities, to the extent that I truly disliked some of them, particularly both of the First Ladies. I never had much of an opinion of Mary Todd Lincoln, after reading this book I don’t like her at all. She was not a sympathetic character, and I would be interested to read more and find out if this is particular to this book, or if it was an accurate representation of her actions and motivations. Varina Davis was also depicted as being selfish and petty.
I was most surprised by how much influence women had in the capital city! They lobbied for their interests, spoke to Congress, and assisted the military with planning and nursing. Without the help of these and other women neither side would have had any success. These women deserve more recognition for their work, not only for the war effort, but for advancing the cause of women in general.