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

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For fans of Louisa May Alcott’s most famous novel, Little Women, Samantha Seiple’s latest book Louisa on the Front Lines is a revelation. There is so much more to this important American literary figure than has been explored before, and Seiple handles these experiences in Alcott’s life with deftness and reverence.

Alcott was born into a life of poverty wrought by her father’s desire for intellectual fame. A name among the Transcendentalists, but not one that had the same draw as Thoreau or Emerson, Bronson Alcott made choices that deprived his family of any comforts in life. It wasn’t until his daughter Louisa began writing and making money that he ever found acclaim himself. This fact matters in that it illustrates the way her success benefitted her family as she so hoped that it would.

Louisa May Alcott’s time in the Civil War as a nurse defined her empathetic voice and established her ability to find humor and humanity in the most dire of circumstances. The work she created at that time, Hospital Sketches, brought her some modicum of fame as well as money, but more than that it rooted her convictions. A staunch abolitionist and believer in women’s rights—we would call her a feminist by today’s standards—her desire to serve was anchored in a belief that all humans deserve equal treatment.

What Seiple achieves in this book is a rare portrait of a writer that is both engaging and surprising. Simply, Louisa on the Front Lines is a must read for fans of Alcott’s work, for Civil War buffs, or anyone looking for an honest story about a woman whose devotion to others defined her life.


Reviewed By:

Author Samantha Seiple
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Seal Press
Publish Date 2019-26-02
ISBN 9781580058049
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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