Louisa on the Front Lines

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Published by: Seal Press
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Pages: 256
ISBN13: 978-1580058049


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 activism.

Louisa on the Frontlines takes readers on a narrative journey 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, she considered it pivotal. It deeply affected her tenuous relationship with her father, and inspired her commitment to abolitionism. Through it all, she kept a journal and wrote letters that garnered an audience when the dramatic experiences they depicted were published in a newspaper. She would continue to draw an image of military nursing with her book, Hospital Sketches. Her work spotlighted the dire conditions of the military hospitals and suffering endured by the wounded she cared for, and to this day 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 centered her foundational belief system. Louisa on the Front Lines reveals the past that shaped Alcott as a prominent feminist, abolitionist, and woman whose life and work would go on to inspire millions.

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Amazon Best Book of the Month

The Best Nonfiction Books to Read in 2019, Woman’s Day — “If you’re obsessed with Little Women, you’re going to love this book about the author, Louisa May Alcott’s, time as a Civil War nurse, which, it turns out, had a huge influence on her most famous novel.”

Louisa on the Front Lines is a swift-moving, engrossing narrative.”
– The Wall Street Journal

Louisa on the Front Lines is a rich, enlightening tale…inspirational.”
– The Washington Post

A “must-read”
— Popsugar

“There’s a beautiful humanness in Seiple’s descriptions of Alcott…Readers will discover in these pages an author as vibrant as her writings, and find themselves returning to her work with fresh eyes. Alcott scholars will encounter a liveliness if not substantive new information.”
– STARRED review, Library Journal

“Provides unique insight into Louisa May Alcott’s time serving as a nurse during the Civil War…Lovers of Alcott and fans of Civil War history will be equally pleased.”
– Publishers Weekly

“A beautifully crafted portrait of what life was like for Alcott during the war…a brilliant story.”
— Civil War Times

“Seiple’s book is an excellent and pleasantly readable account of Alcott’s wartime service that informs the reader nearly as much about the wartime context…as about Alcott’s own experience…Seiple’s careful attention to detail and evident enthusiasm for her subject bring Alcott vividly into view.”
Resources for American Literary Study

“Lively, well-researched…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

Louisa on the Front Lines is a lively account of a critical moment in Alcott’s life, her time working as a nurse in the Civil War — a moment that reverberates, sometimes in surprising ways, in her most beloved work.”
― Louisa Thomas, Author of Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adam

“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

“Seiple’s fluid style of writing…makes the story read like a novel.”
— Kirkus