Gunpowder Girls: Three Civil War Tragedies

Outstanding … Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this tragic story of 140 girls and young women killed by gunpowder explosions in three arsenals where they produced ammunition for Civil War armies reveals details previously unfamiliar even to Civil War historians.  We can now add their names to the human toll of America’s greatest conflict.”
—James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

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You have never heard this story before.

In the Civil War, the government hired women and girls—some as young as nine—to make millions of rounds of ammunition. They worked 72-hour weeks with little training. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition.

Gunpowder Girls is a story of child labor and immigrant hopes and the cruel, endless demands of an all-consuming war. A Junior Library Guild selection.

“Highly readable … recommended for teen history buffs.” — School Library Journal

“From the author of Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg comes another riveting book about the perennially intriguing topic of the Civil War. The book is social history at its finest, telling little-known stories of workers, immigrants, young people, and women who fueled the engine of war from the home front.” — Booklist

“Clear, engaging prose … Extensive backmatter adds gravitas. The employment plight of so many women of the era — few jobs and low pay — is amply illustrated. This grim, enlightening tale is most likely to appeal to those who seek out disaster stories or have an interest in American history.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Wow! This story is unprecedented. The accounts of the explosions themselves are as harrowing as narrative gets.” —Elizabeth Norton, Commerce Township (Mich.) Community Library

Just $16.95 hardcover, signed by the author — order now!

REAL stories are the best stories

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