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Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history--culpable regardless of her intentions.
In these moving stories of Angelina Grimke Weld, wife of abolitionist Theodore Weld, Varina Howell Davis, wife of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and Julia Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses S. Grant, Carol Berkin reveals how women understood the cataclysmic events of their day. Their stories, taken together, help reconstruct the era of the Civil War with a greater depth and complexity by adding women's experiences and voices to their male counterparts....
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