Reviews for Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent : How She And Other African-americans Helped Win the Civil War


Booklist Reviews 2006 December #1
Allen brings readers much more than the usual biography of the brave rescuer on the Underground Railroad. This small, packed volume tells of Harriet Tubman's astonishing roles as spy, secret agent, and military leader, and it combines her personal story with a history of the abolitionist movement and the Civil War, focusing on how ex-slaves and free blacks served the Union cause. Whether African Americans were "invisible" servants listening to and reporting their masters' battle plans or ex-slaves leading guerrilla raids on the areas they knew well, the spy action is the heart of the account, which includes the secret codes spies used to pass on messages as they worked "in the darkness of secrecy and prejudice." The dense history is illustrated with numerous archival images, maps, and woodcuts, and the documentation is meticulous. A time line, a bibliography, and notes and quote sources are appended. An excellent resource for students' research; pair it with Catherine Clinton's adult book Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (2004). ((Reviewed December 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
In this twist on a popular subject, Tubman's life story (interwoven with the events of the Civil War) reads like an adventure novel. Nevertheless, the well-documented book, cleverly designed and illustrated to look like a vintage volume, separates fact from myth. Extensive appendices include source notes, a map, and a spy code (several codes are hidden throughout for readers to solve). Reading list, timeline, websites. Ind. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 February
Gr 5-8-This small book contains a lot of fascinating information on the network of slaves and free blacks who advanced the Union cause during the Civil War. The narrative is framed by the story of Harriet Tubman, the ex-slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad, whose work to help others escape is well known; less is known about her role as a spy. Tubman assisted Northern troops by tapping into a group of ex-slaves working in the South and passing information on to the Union forces. According to Allen, she led a raid along the Combahee River and may have led other expeditions as well. Readers also meet other people who participated in the espionage, including Elizabeth Van Lew, who devised a numerical code to transmit information that she picked up at society gatherings. Using this code, which is described in an appendix, the author includes several messages in the book. The type font and black-and-white reproductions and maps greatly enhance the presentation; in addition to illustrations from traditional sources, such as the Library of Congress, there are quality originals. A great addition to any collection.-Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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