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With thousands of men off fighting in the Civil War, the government hired women and girls—some as young as ten—to make millions of rounds of ammunition. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition. As Steve Sheinkin did with The Port Chicago 50, Tanya And With thousands of men off fighting in the Civil War, the government hired women and girls—some as young as ten—to make millions of rounds of ammunition. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition. As Steve Sheinkin did with The Port Chicago 50, Tanya Anderson in Gunpowder Girls tells an amazing war story that finally gives its subjects their due. Hidden history comes alive through primary-source research and page-turning narrative. Gunpowder Girls is a story of child labor and immigrant hopes and the cruel, endless demands of an all-consuming war. A Junior Library Guild Selection for December 2016 "Outstanding," raves Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. "Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this tragic story of 140 girls and young women killed by gunpowder explosions in three arsenals where they produced ammunition for Civil War armies reveals details previously unfamiliar even to Civil War historians. We can now add their names to the human toll of America's greatest conflict." “Clear, engaging prose," writes Kirkus Reviews in its September 2016 issue. "Extensive backmatter adds gravitas. The employment plight of so many women of the era — few jobs and low pay — is amply illustrated. This grim, enlightening tale is most likely to appeal to those who seek out disaster stories or have an interest in American history. ” “Wow! This story is unprecedented. The accounts of the explosions themselves are as harrowing as narrative gets.” —Elizabeth Norton, Commerce Township (Mich.) Community Library


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With thousands of men off fighting in the Civil War, the government hired women and girls—some as young as ten—to make millions of rounds of ammunition. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition. As Steve Sheinkin did with The Port Chicago 50, Tanya And With thousands of men off fighting in the Civil War, the government hired women and girls—some as young as ten—to make millions of rounds of ammunition. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition. As Steve Sheinkin did with The Port Chicago 50, Tanya Anderson in Gunpowder Girls tells an amazing war story that finally gives its subjects their due. Hidden history comes alive through primary-source research and page-turning narrative. Gunpowder Girls is a story of child labor and immigrant hopes and the cruel, endless demands of an all-consuming war. A Junior Library Guild Selection for December 2016 "Outstanding," raves Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. "Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this tragic story of 140 girls and young women killed by gunpowder explosions in three arsenals where they produced ammunition for Civil War armies reveals details previously unfamiliar even to Civil War historians. We can now add their names to the human toll of America's greatest conflict." “Clear, engaging prose," writes Kirkus Reviews in its September 2016 issue. "Extensive backmatter adds gravitas. The employment plight of so many women of the era — few jobs and low pay — is amply illustrated. This grim, enlightening tale is most likely to appeal to those who seek out disaster stories or have an interest in American history. ” “Wow! This story is unprecedented. The accounts of the explosions themselves are as harrowing as narrative gets.” —Elizabeth Norton, Commerce Township (Mich.) Community Library

30 review for Gunpowder Girls: The True Stories of Three Civil War Tragedies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This book is an account of three major disasters that occurred during the American Civil War that resulted in the deaths of a large number of young women. War causes death, and the Civil War certainly caused many thousands of deaths. But these stories of mostly poor and young immigrant women working long hours at the assembly of ammunition cartridges are especially sad and tragic. Theses young women were assembling cartridges for use in muskets and rifles. In all three instances covered by this This book is an account of three major disasters that occurred during the American Civil War that resulted in the deaths of a large number of young women. War causes death, and the Civil War certainly caused many thousands of deaths. But these stories of mostly poor and young immigrant women working long hours at the assembly of ammunition cartridges are especially sad and tragic. Theses young women were assembling cartridges for use in muskets and rifles. In all three instances covered by this book the gunpowder with which they were working was accidentally set off into horrific explosions. The locations and dates of the three explosions covered by this book and the resulting number of deaths are listed below:Allegheny Arsenal...........................78 deaths Lawrenceville, PA September 17, 1862 Confederate States Laboratory........45 deaths Richmond, VA March 13, 1863 Washington Arsenal..........................21 deaths Washington, D.C. June 17, 1864This book is targeted toward a young adult readership and is well illustrated. It contains numerous interesting sidebar snippets of information. The personal stories about some of the victims are particularly poignant. I believe it is the sort of book that YA's will find to be interesting and educational. Here's a link to book's trailer (I enjoyed its understated-overstatement): https://youtu.be/_D1re3GpSKc I invested in the Kickstarter Campaign sponsored by Quindaro Press that this book was a part. The goal of the campaign was to publish four books of nonfiction history designed for YA readers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers Program. I have read numerous books on the Civil War, but I was completely ignorant of the three tragedies related in this nonfiction book: the young women, mostly immigrants, who assembled ammunition and were killed in accidental explosions on both the Union and Confederate sides of the war. These work place disasters took place decades before the Triangle Shirt Company Fire revolutionized work place safety. These were women tightly I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers Program. I have read numerous books on the Civil War, but I was completely ignorant of the three tragedies related in this nonfiction book: the young women, mostly immigrants, who assembled ammunition and were killed in accidental explosions on both the Union and Confederate sides of the war. These work place disasters took place decades before the Triangle Shirt Company Fire revolutionized work place safety. These were women tightly packed in rooms--and adorned in hoop skirts--who sat still for hours at a time as they packed cartridges. In only one of the cases was a woman the cause of the disaster; the other two were caused by the actions of men outside of the building. While investigations were made and some new safety standards were instituted, no one was held accountable, and the families (who in some cases lost multiple members) were not compensated for their losses. It's a short, educational, and heartbreaking book. Anderson's writing is excellent. Illustrations and photographs throughout greatly illuminate the text; for example, they show how the ammunition was assembled and how the buildings were arranged. The target audience for the book is YA, and I think this would be a very eye-opening book for teenagers and adults when it comes to 19th century labor practices and the desperation of the times. Kudos to the author for exploring this topic and paying tribute to these women who were lost and forgotten.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kim Hampton

    I love Civil War nonfiction and this book was about a subject I had never heard anything about. It was very well researched and the story was compelling. The author did a great job paying tribute to the gils and women who lost their lives in arsenals while supplying ammunition for both sides.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Our Teen Librarian recommended that I check this out because of my interest in the American Civil War. Before there was Rosie the Riveter, there were the Gunpowder Girls -- young women and children, mostly immigrants, who worked to produce the millions of rounds of ammunition used by both the North and South during the American Civil War. Before the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, there were arsenal explosions in many places on this end of the country. This book showcases three of those explosio Our Teen Librarian recommended that I check this out because of my interest in the American Civil War. Before there was Rosie the Riveter, there were the Gunpowder Girls -- young women and children, mostly immigrants, who worked to produce the millions of rounds of ammunition used by both the North and South during the American Civil War. Before the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, there were arsenal explosions in many places on this end of the country. This book showcases three of those explosions, illustrating the events leading up to the events, what occurred on the day of the explosions (including witness accounts), and what occurred after. It is sad that it would be several more years with several more people being killed before labor laws would be drastically changed and improved.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melisende

    The US Civil War is not my forte - so apart from a couple of books, this, for me was a good and unique introduction into both Union & Confederate women. Author Tanya Anderson was looking to focus on the role of women in the Civil War but was looking for a point of difference - In "Gunpowder Girls" she has achieved that in exploring briefly the role of women and young girls working in the arsenals - making the gun cartridges. But again, the author further narrows her purview to focus on three sepa The US Civil War is not my forte - so apart from a couple of books, this, for me was a good and unique introduction into both Union & Confederate women. Author Tanya Anderson was looking to focus on the role of women in the Civil War but was looking for a point of difference - In "Gunpowder Girls" she has achieved that in exploring briefly the role of women and young girls working in the arsenals - making the gun cartridges. But again, the author further narrows her purview to focus on three separate tragedies, all within a two years time frame, all of which had heavy losses of life, mainly women and young girls. Covering three tragedies - at the Allegheny Arsenal, the Confederate States Laboratory and the Washington Arsenal, Anderson gives us a glimpse into the dangerous working conditions of these often poor, single immigrant women, and how a freak accident or ill-thought out action can have tragic consequences. The clincher for me was that despite the investigations that followed, and other accidents (both before and after), nothing was really done to improve the working conditions and protect this vulnerable group. Even more alarming was that the families of these women received no form of compensation, except that which was often raised by their own communities or work colleagues. This was well written and researched, with a good selection of location maps and images, and descriptions to give life to the times and working conditions of those who working in the arsenals.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    You get exactly what you get in this nonfiction text about three tragedies that occurred during the Civil War related to woman and young girls working in ammunition factories. What I liked in particular was the way Anderson shapes each narrative around an introduction to the area and placing it neatly in its time and place, then introducing readers to the girls and their likely situations, then the explosion and subsequent response, then the inquisition and explanation of why it occurred. And ev You get exactly what you get in this nonfiction text about three tragedies that occurred during the Civil War related to woman and young girls working in ammunition factories. What I liked in particular was the way Anderson shapes each narrative around an introduction to the area and placing it neatly in its time and place, then introducing readers to the girls and their likely situations, then the explosion and subsequent response, then the inquisition and explanation of why it occurred. And even then, she does an empathetic last step of sharing what memorials were done, created, and still exist to help heal the pain of the tragedies that took place. In each case, a reader really feels the danger but also the necessity of the girls working. And then feels the incredible pain of their deaths during a time of war and their dangerous job. The representation of Lincoln's aged face over several years of his presidency really captures it all-- war is rough on everyone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    There is nothing boring about history--except how it is taught and/or written about all too often. Instead of teaching students to dread learning about the past, why not unearth the stories that make history come alive, as Anderson has done in both this volume and Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg? Meticulously researched, filled with anecdotes and photos to make the events come alive, and completed with ties to historical and ongoing struggles for women's rights, this b There is nothing boring about history--except how it is taught and/or written about all too often. Instead of teaching students to dread learning about the past, why not unearth the stories that make history come alive, as Anderson has done in both this volume and Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg? Meticulously researched, filled with anecdotes and photos to make the events come alive, and completed with ties to historical and ongoing struggles for women's rights, this book is well worth the read for anyone, but especially as a classroom centerpiece to help students understand why they should crave studying and researching history.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Llyr Heller-Humphreys

    Well researched and compelling read on tragic accidents (that could have been prevented) during the Civil War involving women working with ammunition. I wish it had been a bit longer, but the book is very well put together.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

    Details the little-known explosions at three arsenals during the Civil War that killed over 100 people, mostly young women. This features thorough research, matter-of-fact writing, and is really well laid out. Good for any 8-12 classrooms and perfect for high school libraries.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Snyder

    Wow! This book is a great and fast read for anyone who is interested in history. These young women and girls gave so much with only a little recognition after their death. Paid very little for the dangerous work they did: loading and and creating bullets for the American Civil War. Any spark could (and did) set off an explosion that would (and did) take the lives of these women and children who were simply trying to keep their families fed and housed. This book is as powerful as the explosions t Wow! This book is a great and fast read for anyone who is interested in history. These young women and girls gave so much with only a little recognition after their death. Paid very little for the dangerous work they did: loading and and creating bullets for the American Civil War. Any spark could (and did) set off an explosion that would (and did) take the lives of these women and children who were simply trying to keep their families fed and housed. This book is as powerful as the explosions that killed so many. Give this book to anyone (adult or child) who is interested in American history, especially little known history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Coleen Dailey

    I very much enjoyed this brief history of these three tragedies of the Civil War. Not typical battle stories but life on the home front for working women in the arsenals making cartridges. A very dangerous but necessary job. Women took these jobs over as men went off to war. They were needed to support their families and the war effort. Unfortunately the jobs were extremely dangerous and many were killed. I believe this book is for young adults but it is an area of history that is not well docum I very much enjoyed this brief history of these three tragedies of the Civil War. Not typical battle stories but life on the home front for working women in the arsenals making cartridges. A very dangerous but necessary job. Women took these jobs over as men went off to war. They were needed to support their families and the war effort. Unfortunately the jobs were extremely dangerous and many were killed. I believe this book is for young adults but it is an area of history that is not well documented and is well worth the read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Very interesting book about the working conditions of teenage girls and young women in 3 armament factories that exploded during the Civil War. The girls worked in extremely volatile areas for less money than the men who did the same jobs before they went off to fight. These explosions led to the focus on improving working conditions.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Gunpowder Girls by Tanya Anderson is a touching account of how young women and female children helped with the civil war and ultimately paid the highest price by giving their lives. The book takes you through three of the worst arsenal tragedies during that time period. It has illustrations and actual photographs along with news articles describing the buildings, workers remains, etc. Put together very nicely and shows the utmost respect to the deceases' families.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    I had no knowledge of these tragedies, nor did I know that women worked in ammunitions factories during the Civil War, excellent information and presentation.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lena Vescio

    Gunpowder Girls by Tanya Anderson is about three Civil War tragedies at three major arsenals where poor immigrant girls, widows and their daughters worked making millions of rounds of ammunition for the men fighting. These women worked hard in tiny packed rooms filled with 30 other women just to make a living. Just one tiny mistake can lead to a disaster. These stories take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Washington,D.C, and Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. Hundreds of innocent children and wome Gunpowder Girls by Tanya Anderson is about three Civil War tragedies at three major arsenals where poor immigrant girls, widows and their daughters worked making millions of rounds of ammunition for the men fighting. These women worked hard in tiny packed rooms filled with 30 other women just to make a living. Just one tiny mistake can lead to a disaster. These stories take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Washington,D.C, and Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. Hundreds of innocent children and women were killed and burned while men also died trying to save them from the burning buildings. I enjoyed reading this book because I'm personally very intrigued by the civil war and very curious so whenever I get a chance to read a civil war story I love it. I definitely would recommend this book to 7th grade and above because of the death descriptions it can be vulgar at times. I also liked how the author wrote the book because at the end of each tragedy she put a list of the women and children who died and who survived. This book is great for somebody who loves war stories and wants to learn more about the American Civil War.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Young women were the main makers of cartridges for both the Union and Confederates. Allegheny Arsenal in Lawrence,PA, September 17, 1862, Confederate States Laboratory in Richmond,VA March 13, 1863, and Washington Arsenal, Washington, D.C. June 17, 1864, are the three expounded here. Dangerous situations with highly volatile gun powder floating around. All had investigations. Included are lists of deceased, pictures, diagrams, maps, memorials, bibliography, and recommended reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    So often when we are discussing the wars that have happened we only focus on the male section of the population and their sacrifices and contributions to the effort. We trivialize the sacrifices and efforts of the women. During the Civil War we immortalized Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and make no mention at all of the women who made the war possible in the first place by keeping both sides supplied with munitions. This book focuses on the women employed in the muniti So often when we are discussing the wars that have happened we only focus on the male section of the population and their sacrifices and contributions to the effort. We trivialize the sacrifices and efforts of the women. During the Civil War we immortalized Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and make no mention at all of the women who made the war possible in the first place by keeping both sides supplied with munitions. This book focuses on the women employed in the munitions factories on both sides and the catastrophic explosions that occurred in three separate explosions during the war. These were not by any account the only explosions that occurred but they were the worst ones. Poor safety measures and long work hours and just plain simple human error resulted in the loss of life that occurred in all three explosions. These women and in a lot of cases young girls ( as young as 10 ) didn't really have a choice in the need to be employed and be the family breadwinners as their men were all gone fighting the war or had come home from the war already but too wounded to contribute. The boys that they had hired previously were much to careless and prone to shenanigans to remain employed doing such hazardous and delicate work and were therefore replaced with more mild-mannered women and young girls. These women and young girls did their work without complaint for half the pay the men were getting and for very long hours. Mistakes were made and because of them on the part of the employers and employed both, lives were lost. The author didn't want these sacrifices by the feminine war workers to be forgotten and lost in history to be overshadowed by the heroism of the male heroes of the war. It was a fascinating read and had sparked in me the desire to learn more about the women of the Civil War, a war I have always been fascinated by. Thankfully labor laws and safety practices have been updated to protect all from injury and death although I am sure some employers try to stretch the laws as much as possible to make a buck even now. Hopefully the authorities would be diligent enough to hunt this type of abuse down and close the offenders down so that more tragedy would not occur. Anyhow, I really loved this book, it was an easy read and very interesting. Recommend to anyone who would like some history that wouldn't necessarily be found in the garden variety textbooks that are out there these days. I would recommend to both men and women, as source of pride to the women of today and hopefully a reminder to the men that the women of the world have always done their share and then some when the times get tough and stuff has to be done to keep the world turning. Looking to read more from Tanya Anderson as I can find them. A ++++

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This is an excellent nonfiction book for teens and adults, about a little-known aspect of the Civil War: that many girls and women worked in ammunition arsenals for both North and South. The author gives historical background for why girls and women needed jobs to support their families during the war, and describes in detail the nature of the work, which was also best done by small delicate hands: filling gunpowder cartridges, "choking" them (tying the ends of the paper cartridges closed), varn This is an excellent nonfiction book for teens and adults, about a little-known aspect of the Civil War: that many girls and women worked in ammunition arsenals for both North and South. The author gives historical background for why girls and women needed jobs to support their families during the war, and describes in detail the nature of the work, which was also best done by small delicate hands: filling gunpowder cartridges, "choking" them (tying the ends of the paper cartridges closed), varnishing and packaging "friction primers" for cannons, and so forth. Many of these girls were only 12 or 13, were from poor immigrant families, and were grateful for the 12-hour workday with meager wages. Safety was always emphasized, and the (male) bosses were constantly supervising and had boys sweeping up loose gunpowder. But, when 100 of them were crammed into one room that also housed casks of gunpowder, and there was an accidental spark.... This book tells the stories of three such tragic accidents at ammunition arsenals, one each in Pittsburgh, PA, Richmond, VA and Washington, D.C. The author does not shy away from some morbid details of the injuries and deaths, but does not go into excessive detail. Her meticulous research shows in the extensive endnotes and bibliography, use of contemporary photos and maps of the arsenals, and in how she briefly introduces many of the girls by name, giving them some depth as real people in a real situation. The text gives the story of what happened before, during and after each accident, including investigations and memorials, in clear and precise prose. And a complete-as-possible listing of the victims is included, again, to humanize them and to help the reader relate to the real costs of the accidents. I found this to be a fascinating book, and even having read a fair amount of Civil War history I learned a lot from the factual sidebars and the author's note relating how she decided to write this particular topic and how researching these girls made her know them and sympathize with them. Recommended for readers middle school and up.

  19. 4 out of 5

    kim

    One of my favorite periods of history to learn about is the Civil War era. I wanted to read this book because it seemed to cover new territory that I, as least, was unaware of. The book is written at perhaps a middle school level which may cause the reader to think there isn’t much ‘meat’ in the book, but that reader would be mistaken. I couldn’t ask for more in a book — I learned so much. Though a quick read, there is plenty of ‘meat’ in this book, with numerous illustrations and notes to enhan One of my favorite periods of history to learn about is the Civil War era. I wanted to read this book because it seemed to cover new territory that I, as least, was unaware of. The book is written at perhaps a middle school level which may cause the reader to think there isn’t much ‘meat’ in the book, but that reader would be mistaken. I couldn’t ask for more in a book — I learned so much. Though a quick read, there is plenty of ‘meat’ in this book, with numerous illustrations and notes to enhance the material. One example; I now know how cartridges were assembled and loaded into muskets to be fired. A well-trained soldier could load and fire 2-3 times per minute, which really puts into perspective what our forefathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd amendment! And while I knew women had served as spies, nurses, and even soldiers during the war, I did not know how widespread the employment of women in the war effort was at that time! Even though the book is written for young adults, the author has included an extensive bibliography and recommended reading for those who want to learn more. This should satisfy adults who read the book. You can read an excerpt on the publisher’s website. I received a review copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cora

    Gunpowder Girls is a nonfiction account of three tragedies at ammunition arsenals during the U.S. Civil War. Since many of the men were away fighting, the arsenals were staffed mostly by women and girls who worked in dangerous conditions. In the three disasters described in this book, the materials used to make the ammunition was accidentally set off resulting in explosions that took many lives and injured many others. This book is written for a middle school audience. It gives great information Gunpowder Girls is a nonfiction account of three tragedies at ammunition arsenals during the U.S. Civil War. Since many of the men were away fighting, the arsenals were staffed mostly by women and girls who worked in dangerous conditions. In the three disasters described in this book, the materials used to make the ammunition was accidentally set off resulting in explosions that took many lives and injured many others. This book is written for a middle school audience. It gives great information about the role of these women and their work places in our history. The author refers to primary sources and census records for much of the information and includes asides about related subjects such as Abraham Lincoln, the role of African Americans in the Civil War and how ammunitions are built. I would have liked more information about some of the women mentioned, but perhaps such information is not available. I would recommend this book to kids interested in history. I received a copy of this book free from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Avery Munns

    Although this book is geared for young adult readers, this would be a delightful read for anyone who would like to learn more about a little-known side of the Civil War. Although most Civil War nonfiction focuses on men who lost their lives in battle, this book investigates the women who lost their lives aiding the war. Specifically, Anderson provides insight into three tragic mishaps during the war: fires at the Allegheny Arsenal, Confederate States Laboratory and Washington Arsenal. Yet, Ander Although this book is geared for young adult readers, this would be a delightful read for anyone who would like to learn more about a little-known side of the Civil War. Although most Civil War nonfiction focuses on men who lost their lives in battle, this book investigates the women who lost their lives aiding the war. Specifically, Anderson provides insight into three tragic mishaps during the war: fires at the Allegheny Arsenal, Confederate States Laboratory and Washington Arsenal. Yet, Anderson does not only write a narrative to the deadly scene, she provides critical diagrams, lists, newspaper articles and pictures to help complete the scene for readers. Anderson's thorough research shines through in the book and will leave readers eager to keep turning the pages. The most thought-provoking aspect of these stories, though, were those of women's rights and labor reform. Although the Civil War brought enormous change to the country, this book highlights the issues that prevailed and would come to the forefront in later American history. By breaking the book into three parts, Anderson has brilliantly tied together three related but different horrifying stories into one masterful read. Gunpowder Girls is a quick, easy read that will not only touch readers's hearts, but provoke deep thought in their minds.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Definitely learned something in this one. Had no idea that any of these tragedies occurred. I would have loved to have had more detail about the women's lives outside of the arsenal. As it is, the book will appeal to a wide variety of nonfiction lovers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This slim volume was a pleasant surprise for me. I picked this book up at the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum without reading the description in detail. I have been a HAZMAT responder and fan civil war history for years. I did not realize it was meant for a younger audience. Initially, I was disappointed at the lack of depth. Once I realized the intended audience was someone else, I read it with a different outlook. 1) This book is quite detailed for a high school or junior high school reader from This slim volume was a pleasant surprise for me. I picked this book up at the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum without reading the description in detail. I have been a HAZMAT responder and fan civil war history for years. I did not realize it was meant for a younger audience. Initially, I was disappointed at the lack of depth. Once I realized the intended audience was someone else, I read it with a different outlook. 1) This book is quite detailed for a high school or junior high school reader from the standpoint of workplace hazards. 2) Very little is written about the role of women in the civil war other than as cross dressing soldiers or spies. 3) Ms. Anderson originally set out to write about the role of the woman as the unseen laborer in the civil war. I liked that the book presented facts and was not a rant about oppressive, brutish, war-mongering males. It was balanced factual and fair. If Ms. Anderson writes her original book for adults, I will certainly buy a copy. Also, if you do not know anything about the explosions at the three arsenals described in this book, it is a very good starting point.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Excellent, previously-untold history of three different tragedies that happened at munitions factories during the Civil War. In school, they teach you about the labor movement and you probably study the Triangle Factory, but no one ever talks about the women in the work force before that. During the Civil War, not only were women doing their womanly bit on the home front, cooking and cleaning and raising kids and making bandages and maybe even working as spies for either side--they were working Excellent, previously-untold history of three different tragedies that happened at munitions factories during the Civil War. In school, they teach you about the labor movement and you probably study the Triangle Factory, but no one ever talks about the women in the work force before that. During the Civil War, not only were women doing their womanly bit on the home front, cooking and cleaning and raising kids and making bandages and maybe even working as spies for either side--they were working in munitions factories in deplorable, dangerous conditions. These true stories made my blood boil for rights violations that happened and the reforms that took ages to happen as even more people died, and this narrative is as harrowing as narrative gets. Tanya Anderson is fast becoming one of those authors whose books I will buy for my library on name alone. Her research is impeccable and her writing style sucked me straight in. Note: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher. I did not pay for the book and I was not paid for this review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maura

    I received a free advanced copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Very interesting story about three tragedies that took place at three different arsenals where women were making ammunition for the men fighting in the Civil War. There seems to be so much written on the Civil War with regards to battles, soldiers, slavery, politics, etc. that it’s fascinating to read about the lives of everyday women who left the home and went to work to I received a free advanced copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Very interesting story about three tragedies that took place at three different arsenals where women were making ammunition for the men fighting in the Civil War. There seems to be so much written on the Civil War with regards to battles, soldiers, slavery, politics, etc. that it’s fascinating to read about the lives of everyday women who left the home and went to work to help support their families. It’s a fairly quick read, but packed full of information and a well written narrative that keeps you interested in the events leading up to and following these tragic munitions explosions. I only wish the author was able to write more about the lives of these women and their roles in supporting the war effort. This is a great supplemental book to a unit on the Civil War or a jumping off point for a research project on the role of women in the war.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie Suzanne

    Attractive cover and presentation of text, but really brief. It was more like reading a good chapter in a textbook or an article in a journal than reading an entire book. I have a few complaints about layout (the sidebars and primary source documents were ill-placed and hindered the flow of reading), but overall it was interesting content and well-written. The descriptions of the explosions were pretty graphic and made me pause, so I think Anderson accomplished what she wanted by invoking empath Attractive cover and presentation of text, but really brief. It was more like reading a good chapter in a textbook or an article in a journal than reading an entire book. I have a few complaints about layout (the sidebars and primary source documents were ill-placed and hindered the flow of reading), but overall it was interesting content and well-written. The descriptions of the explosions were pretty graphic and made me pause, so I think Anderson accomplished what she wanted by invoking empathy and respect for the young girls who perished in tragedies caused by unfortunate circumstances. This will appeal to real history buffs, I think, rather than turning average middle-school readers into nonfiction history enthusiasts. I already enjoy learning about history, so I'm glad I read it. Teachers: this would pair well with a historical fiction unit using Lyddie by Katherine Paterson or Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Orion

    This is a well written book about three tragic accidental explosions at ammunition factories that supplied Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War. The majority of the victims were girls and women, who made up a large part of the work force. Accounts of tragic incidents make for depressing reading. Yet the analysis of the factors that led to the disaster reveal much about the daily lives of the victims, a part of history that is often bypassed. The book explains how the girls This is a well written book about three tragic accidental explosions at ammunition factories that supplied Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War. The majority of the victims were girls and women, who made up a large part of the work force. Accounts of tragic incidents make for depressing reading. Yet the analysis of the factors that led to the disaster reveal much about the daily lives of the victims, a part of history that is often bypassed. The book explains how the girls and women came to work at the factories, the working conditions, and what if anything happened in reaction to the tragedies. It looks like the book was aimed at an adolescent audience, as a side-text to a regular history course curriculum, but it is suitable for older readers as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Bates

    The Civil War is the bloodiest war that happened in our country, killing millions and uprooting our country both economically and personally. We've heard of places like Antietam and Gettysburg. We also know the name of people associated with the Civil War, such as Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln. Why do we know this? Because it is taught in curriculum and found in textbooks. But there is always the hidden documented history of the Civil War most people don't know about. These are true stori The Civil War is the bloodiest war that happened in our country, killing millions and uprooting our country both economically and personally. We've heard of places like Antietam and Gettysburg. We also know the name of people associated with the Civil War, such as Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln. Why do we know this? Because it is taught in curriculum and found in textbooks. But there is always the hidden documented history of the Civil War most people don't know about. These are true stories about the women of the Civil War. Full review here: http://naomibates.blogspot.com/2016/1...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Hay

    Well written and well researched, this is the account of three horrific accidents that took place at arsenals during the Civil War. Since most boys and men were off fighting it was up to girls and women to make the ammunition used in the rifles and muskets. Working conditions were abysmal and pay was low, but for many immigrant women this dangerous job provided necessary funds for their families survival. When tragedy struck loss of life was high as these girls were packed into rooms full of gun Well written and well researched, this is the account of three horrific accidents that took place at arsenals during the Civil War. Since most boys and men were off fighting it was up to girls and women to make the ammunition used in the rifles and muskets. Working conditions were abysmal and pay was low, but for many immigrant women this dangerous job provided necessary funds for their families survival. When tragedy struck loss of life was high as these girls were packed into rooms full of gun powder. Some details in the story are rather graphic, so not the best read over your lunch. Good for ages 14 and up (though sadly many of the victims in the book were younger).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I received a copy of this book in order to review it. I read a lot of books about American history, and so I was excited to read one aimed at younger readers. I know sometimes it's hard to make these times in history interesting to young people, but this book was very well written in that regard. I liked the side articles explaining things relevant to the time period. It definitely brought alive the day to day life struggles that these women and girls faced while helping during the Civil War. I' I received a copy of this book in order to review it. I read a lot of books about American history, and so I was excited to read one aimed at younger readers. I know sometimes it's hard to make these times in history interesting to young people, but this book was very well written in that regard. I liked the side articles explaining things relevant to the time period. It definitely brought alive the day to day life struggles that these women and girls faced while helping during the Civil War. I'd definitely recommend it to teachers or parents trying to interest students in history.

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