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Rose & Little Rose in PrisonAuthorís Note:
Rose Greenhow was very much a product of her time. She was raised in a slaveholding family, believed in the institution of slavery and, in wartime, she railed against abolitionists. Her views on race will be abhorrent to many readers, as they were to me. That they were shared by her compatriots on both sides of the Atlantic is illuminating, undeniable, and horrifying. Yet, it is part of the historical record of the United States of America, and I did not gloss over it.

Rose reflected the views of the young republic in which she grew up. Five of the first seven presidents owned slaves, including Washington and Jefferson, two of our greatest. The office of Speaker of the House was held by a slave owner for 28 of the nation's first 35 years. Cabinet members and justices of the Supreme Court were slave owners in Washington, where slavery was legal and commonplace.

To understand the divisions that face our country, we must know how we got where we are today. How could any American, even an entire region, fight for slavery? As a Northerner and lifelong egalitarian, I found Roseís racism the most difficult part of the book for me to get my head around. Her passion, her courage, her adventurous spirit and her determination to succeed in a world ruled by men were elements of her character that all of us can admire. That she was on the wrong side--and lost--makes her story more complex, but no less fascinating. She represented both the best and worst of what we think of as America.

If we are to understand the forces that divide us today, we must learn from the life of Rose Greenhow and the forces that split our country then.
                                                                                                                                                               --Ann Blackman

Wild Rose HardcoverWild Rose, Civil War Spy
Crack the Code, Win a Book
Random House

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