Louisa on the Front Lines: Louisa May Alcott in the Civil War


  • By: Samantha Seiple
  • 2019 | Hardcover
  • ISBN is 9781580058049 / 1580058043
  • Publisher: Seal Press

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An eye-opening look at Little Women author Louisa May Alcott’s time as a Civil War nurse, and the far-reaching implications her service had on her writing and her activism. Louisa on the Frontlines is the first narrative nonfiction book focusing on the least-known aspect of Louisa May Alcott’s career — her time spent as a nurse during the Civil War. Though her service was brief, the dramatic experience was one that she considered pivotal in helping her write the beloved classic Little Women. It also deeply affected her tenuous relationship with her father, and inspired her commitment to abolitionism. Through it all, she kept a journal and wrote letters to her family and friends. These letters were published in the newspaper, and her subsequent book, Hospital Sketches spotlighted the dire conditions of the military hospitals and the suffering endured by the wounded soldiers she cared for. To this day, her work is considered a pioneering account of military nursing. Alcott’s time as an Army nurse in the Civil War helped her find her authentic voice — and cemented her foundational belief system. Louisa on the Frontlines reveals the emergence of this prominent feminist and abolitionist — a woman whose life and work has inspired millions and continues to do so today.

About the Author:

Samantha Seiple

Samantha Seiple is the author of the young adult narrative nonfiction books Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska’s WWII Invasion, a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Nominee and a Junior Library Guild Selection; Lincoln’s Spymaster: America’s First Private Eye, a Junior Library Guild Selection; Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure; and Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon Adventure. She has worked as a competitive intelligence specialist, as a librarian, and as a production editor and copy editor. Her education includes degrees in English, journalism, and library and information science. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Louisa on the Front Lines by Samantha Seiple Reviews:

“Bravo to Samantha Seiple for her sensitive portrayal of the difficulties and the successes of Civil War nurses, as seen through the clear eyes of Louisa May Alcott.”—Dr. Patricia Brady, Historian and Biographer

“Louisa on the Front Lines tells the story of a powerful period in Louisa May Alcott’s life–her brief occupation as a Civil War nurse. Samantha Seiple, with her lively, well-researched narrative, captures Alcott at a pivotal time in the history of our country and in her own career as a young writer. Readers will discover the story both engaging and informative. Alcott herself would have marveled at how Seiple’s biographical and historical account reads like a novel!”—Daniel Shealy, UNC Professor of English and editor of The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

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