Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

by Seymour Reit

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview


In 1861, when war erupted between the States, President Lincoln made an impassioned plea for volunteers. Determined not to remain on the sidelines, Emma Edmonds cropped her hair, donned men’s clothing, and enlisted in the Union Army. Posing in turn as a slave, peddler, washerwoman, and fop, Emma became a cunning master of disguise, risking discovery and death at every turn behind Confederate lines.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152164270
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/01/2001
Series: Great Episodes Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 74,695
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.43(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author


SEYMOUR REIT is the author of more than eighty books for young readers. An experienced animated cartoonist, he is also the creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Mr. Reit lives in New York City.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The story is fast-moving, and Emma’s spunk...is evident.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This stranger-than-fiction story will captivate history buffs and hold the attention of the most reluctant reader.”—Bank Street College of Education
“A suspense-filled account of a brave and loyal feminist.”—Booklist

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Behind Rebel Lines 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Allison_Vollinger More than 1 year ago
The incredible story of Emma Edmonds was wonderfully told by Seymour Reit. Reit portrayed Miss Edmond's courage and willingness to serve and protect the Union in the best way possible. Women did their part during the Civil War by sewing and caring for the sick, wounded, and dying. This wasn't enough for Emma. Reit tells of Emma's exploits in her early days as she lived them: hard and fast. The first months were routine and passed quickly for this reason. Reit briefly tells of this time and sets the background for the rest of Emma's story. He uses simple diction and syntax to progress the plot quickly, reflecting the fast-paced life at war. He goes into a bit more detail when the events in Emma's life get more and more serious and life-threatening. Reit extends crucial periods in Emma's life like when she breaks down after learning of her childhood friend Lieutenant Vesey's death and confides in Mrs. Butler, the chaplain's wife. Mrs. Butler becomes the confidant of Emma and someone who helps the heroine with crucial events and decisions. Mrs. Butler objects when Emma wishes to replace the Union spy that was captured, reflecting the views of what a woman's place was in society. Whatever dangerous mission Emma was sent on however, Mrs. Butler was always supportive of her friend. She was also supportive of Emma's most dangerous mission which took her into controversial Kentucky. There her mission was to snuff out a Confederate espionage operation without meeting the same fate as her predecessor. The brief summary of the mission is followed by Emma's illness of malaria which caused her to go AWOL in fear of her secret being discovered. Edmonds told of her actions and alias during the war in return for Franklin Thompson being cleared as a deserter and honorably discharged. This book shed light onto a magnificent young woman and her willingness to go beyond the female options to help the Union and put her life on the line.
LULUCAKES More than 1 year ago
Behind Rebel Lines, a thrilling and exciting historical fiction adventure If you are looking for a very informative, detailed and fact-heavy book, this is not the book for you. Since this is technically a historical fiction book the author had to make guesses about Emma Edmonds’ life so not everything is completely true. It does, however, use pages out of her memoirs, historians accounts of her life and different army documents. At 122 pages the book is definitely short and sweet, I personally like how the author didn’t drag out her story to give him more to write about, instead he ended where Edmonds did. Although short, this book has a strong grip on the reader up until the end and I doubt that anyone will be too disappointed that it is over. The only thing that should stop someone from picking this book up is their age and exposure to the different language and violence that occurred during the civil war. I would recommend junior high ages (6,7 and possibly 8th grade) because although the language is ahead the book may become boring for a more skilled reader who isn’t used to “children's” historical fiction.
mushu123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A girl dresses as a man, a general¿s wife, your family ripped away from you, and many secrets. The book behind rebel lines was written by Seymour reit. With 130 pages it was a good book because it had many surprises in it.This book takes place in the northern part of the country. Also Seymour reit the author tells the story of a girl that has so many secrets. The hero or main character of the book is Emma Emonds. I can relate to Emma because she has a secret that she would never tell any on and so do I.In this book there is this girl named Emma Emonds. She doesn¿t want anything elts than to be in the union army. There is one problem, she is a woman. You see woman could not go into the army. So she dressed as a man. She wanted to be a nurse, but she ended up being a spy. She used her secret to her advantage; she was a woman on her side but a woman on the other side. That is how she spied.This book left an impression on me; that impression was that I think a lot of women dressed as men to be in the army. I would recommend that children and adults would like to read this book. I think they would like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that Behind Rebel Lines is a badly written book telling a great biographical story. Although Emma’s story is suspense-filled, the author does not enhance the suspense, he diminishes it. I am the type of reader who enjoys books with lots of setting and description, and I think Behind Rebel Lines was lacking this. On the other hand, if you are the type of reader who likes short books, this was a quick read written in a narrative format with no pictures. I would suggest this book for readers aged 10-12.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a student, I read this book for assigned school reading. I had conflicting views about this book. For example, after reading this book, I don’t believe I would ever read this book for pleasure. Though it has a clear format and layout, the dates that were used for chapter titles were not helpful. I don’t skim over chapter titles, but the dates were unfortunately not an assistful way of organization. The first chapter also reads slowly and doesn’t provide any information about the subject of the book. While this book is only 130 pages it reads as if it is 60. This makes the book a quick read with only a few overarching themes. However, the cover was very appealing and the synopsis sounded extremely interesting. Overall it is a great story for understanding female military perspective.
ks413 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I believe this nonfiction book would be great for young girls to read. It shows a powerful girl during the Civil War that dresses as a male to fight. I think this would be a great way to connect girls to history; many girls at this age are all about empowerment. I enjoyed the book the most when it became suspenseful when Emma crossed enemy lines to be a spy for the Union. In a class, I would use this as an option in literature circles because I believe it would engage the girls. In history, we would compare this perspective of the Civil War to the one we read about in textbooks.
zwhite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book because it showed the life of both a female in the war, and a spy in the war. It showed both of these because Emma, the main character, is a female spy in the Civil War. No one knows she is a woman, except for one person. She has to go through the war without showing that she is a female.
imamazing13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you were a girl and wanted to be in the army, would you dress up as a man? Behind Rebel Lines is a book where all this happens. The main characters are Emma, Cuff, Bridget, and Mr. and Mrs. Butler. It has 130 pages and it is nonfiction. Its author is Seymour Reit. This is a book where all this happens plus more. Emma Becomes a field nurse for the confederate states, then later becomes a spy. She goes on dangerous missions as Cuff, Bridget and her other costumes as a spy.This book would get 7 out of 10 stars because it was kind of slow but then I got faster as it interested me more. She did achieve her purpose because no one found out she was a girl. It was a happy because of the font in the book.This book could be read by anybody who likes civil war books, especially middle schoolers. I think it was really interesting for a civil war book, and people should read it.
coolkid18 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Final Draft Book Review By: Seymour ReitHow would you feel if you had to disguise yourself just to help your country? Emma Edmonds, a young Canadian, had no idea what was in store when she cut of her hair and put on slacks to become a man. The Civil War was a stressful time. The North and South needed the help and the numbers. The book was intriguing, because Emma Edmonds was willing to risk her life to be a part of this amazing time in history.Emma¿s mother died and she was tired of being neglected by her Father. Her plan to be a part of the war was a perfect escape route. Except for one thing: She was a girl. She planned to disguise herself as a guy and help by nursing. Her plan went smoothly, but after a while she couldn¿t keep her secret anymore. She told her closest friend who was also the General¿s wife, Mrs. Butler.Hoping that Mrs. / Butler would keep her secret, Emma took on another challenge. A confederate spy job opening popped up. Risky yet very brave, Emma took the job. Scared, but somewhat prepared Emma took on her first spy mission as a slave. She was a great spy! Emma went on to do other missions too. She was so successful as a spy, She went on to tell her story by writing a book about her amazing journey.The Book Behind rebel Lines was intriguing because Emma Edmonds was willing to risk her life to be a part of this amazing time in history. I would recommend this book to any History lover or teacher. Emma Edmonds was strong and brave and her story will be remembered forever! She was so talented and played all different roles in life and she realized that just by the way you look affects a lot on how you are treated. This book gave me a little bit better understanding of what life was like during the Civil War.
SAM_7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don¿t know what to do! I have swamp fever and no one can find out I¿m a women, not a man. Behind Rebel Lines was written by Seymour Reit. Behind Rebel Lines was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2001. It is 144 pages long and Emma Edmonds was a field nurse then a spy. Emma posed as a man for 2 years without getting caught. She ran away from home when she was pretty young. Emma¿s parents didn¿t care about her that much because they wanted a boy. She came to America and became an American citizen. Soon after that she became an American soldier.The topic of Behind Rebel Lines I think was to tell a story about a woman that posed as a man and that dreams or goals can come true, no matter if you¿re a women or man. Behind Rebel Lines was a pretty good book. I just didn¿t like how historic it was. I would suggest a Social Studies/History teacher to read it.Emma Edmonds was in war in 1861. Emma supported the North. Emma was a strong bold girl. Before she went into war she lived in Canada with her family. Her dad treated her bad because he wanted a boy. Emma became a field nurse in war then a spy. Emma made a friend at the hospital where she worked and gained trust with her. Emma told her that she was a women not a man. Behind Rebel Line was a Historical Fiction book. It was pretty good and gave me a lot more information about War of 1861.
imamazing123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Behind Rebel LinesIf you were a girl and wanted to be in the army, would you dress up as a man? Behind Rebel Lines is a book where all this happens. The main characters are Emma, Cuff, Bridget, and Mr. and Mrs. Butler. It has 130 pages and it is nonfiction. Its author is Seymour Reit. This is a book where all this happens plus more. Emma Becomes a field nurse for the confederate states, then later becomes a spy. She goes on dangerous missions as Cuff, Bridget and her other costumes as a spy.This book would get 7 out of 10 stars because it was kind of slow but then I got faster as it interested me more. She did achieve her purpose because no one found out she was a girl. It was a happy because of the font in the book.This book could be read by anybody who likes civil war books, especially middle schoolers. I think it was really interesting for a civil war book, and people should read it.
Treeseed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very quick read even for the 9-12 year age group it is intended for. Never-the-less, it is a very exciting and interesting bit of true Civil War drama. It is the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, or Emma Edmonds as she was known, a young woman, born in Canada, who, disguised as a man, became a solider, battlefield nurse, spy and detective for the Union army. Emma was sworn into the Union army as Private Franklin Thompson and served bravely and cunningly in many dangerous missions and in many disguises. She was also a devoted and skilled battlefield nurse and tended the wounded of both the Union and the Confederacy with compassion. Her career as a male soldier ended at Vicksburg when she became so ill with malaria that she had to go AWOL in order to escape detection as a female. Her adventures did not stop there. This book is sure to grab the interest of anyone who picks it up. It is not a great work of writing skill, being very episodic with little to link together the various elements of Emma's courageous life. The dialogue is fabricated, of course, and rather stilted, but the facts here are accurate and taken from Emma's memoirs and other historical documents. At least 400 women disguised as men fought for the North during the Civil War, but Emma's tale of espionage is perhaps the most thrilling. I highly recommend this book to young people as a wonderful introduction to the Civil War. Getting to know the people who fought this tragic and bloody war is a wonderful way to understand this astonishing chapter of American history. This book is definitely a page turner and so all the better for keeping interest high and fostering curiosity and discovery.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
A person requires much courage if they are going to become a soldier. It took a woman of great courage & bravery to freely decide to join the Union army of the Civil War. Although most people didn't know at the time, several women (at least 400) joined the army undercover during the Civil War, and no one ever suspected it. At the age of 21, that is what Emma Edmonds, a Canadian-born, did. This book fictionalizes her true story. Emma Edmonds enlisted under the name of Franklin Thompson, but it didn't stop there. The journey of her first alias led her into becoming a reliable spy for the Union. She created new characters for herself on almost every mission the army sent her on, so that her old characters wouldn't be recognized by the Rebel army. Bridget O'Shea, Irish peddler. Cuff, freed slave. Charles Mayberry, detective. Those are just a few of her undercover names & disguises. The lengths Emma went to in order to keep her true identity a secret for years from either army... Amazing. Behind Rebel Lines is one author's account of how the real Emma Edmond's story came to be. It is a simple, easy book to read, but I won't be forgetting what I learned. Recommended for ages 8-12, and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My nephew requested a book about the Civil War. This book sounded like a winner. I read several other reviews on Behind Rebel Lines and they were all very good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mom2one More than 1 year ago
Behind Rebel Lines began in our home as my 13 year old son's classroom assignment and ended up being an engaging read with lots of depthful conversation. My son isn't a book worm per se, but when something's really good he'll read the entire thing in a sitting, be it a day or a weekend. He had misplaced his original copy, so I went off to buy a second one. He was so caught up in the story, he was literally calling me on my cell phone to see if I'd found another copy yet. Even though I'm a member here at B&N, I confess to first going to the book store closest to me. They had nothing, so off I went the extra mile which paid off... of course, they had it. My son finished it that night, and began telling me about it and how I should read it. I was so glad I did, as I found it extremely well written and engaging. We had some precious conversations about the characters and humanity. This is a great book to discuss with young minds who are still learning about our world.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was so great I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is the best book i ever read! i would recommend it 2 evryone. It helped me understand so much more about the civil war and those kinda things. I would give this book a million stars if i could!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh My Gosh....i loved this book!It was so incredibly cool!I mean The First Sentence Came and i was glued to this book!!!!!It realy incouraged me to be bold and brave.I gave this book 5 stars because it was soo heartwarming and so beautifull!Kids from at least 4,5,6,7etcshould read this book!I really liked it and i think you are Too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for both boys and girls, and all ages. I couldn't put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book it helped me understand more about what happened during the Civil War. And with Great detail.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the book was great it had great details and describiton
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is excellent! the book is not to long, but keeps excitment and thrills all the way through! the book teaches good history and keeps childrens attention. There is no way to go wrong if you buy this book!