The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

Product DetailsThe Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe
By Elaine Showalter
Simon and Schuster
Retail Price:  $28.00
Amazon Price: $18.78

Book Description:  The first full biography of Julia Ward Howe—the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and an early and powerful feminist pioneer—a groundbreaking figure in the abolitionist and suffrage movements.

Julia Ward (1819–1910) was a heiress and aspiring poet when she married Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, an internationally-acclaimed pioneer in the education of the blind. Together the Howes knew many of the key figures of their era, from Charles Dickens to John Brown. But he also wasted her inheritance, isolated and discouraged her, and opposed her literary ambitions. Julia persisted, and continued to publish poems and plays while raising six children.

Authorship of the Battle Hymn of the Republic made her celebrated and revered. But Julia was also continuing to fight a civil war at home; she became a pacifist, suffragist, and world traveler. She came into her own as a tireless campaigner for women’s rights and social reform. Esteemed author Elaine Showalter tells the story of Howe’s determined self-creation and brings to life the society she inhabited and the obstacles she overcame.

Review

This is an excellent biography of Julia Ward Howe.  In case you are unsure of who Ms. Howe is, she is the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which first appeared in the February, 1862, issue of The Atlantic Monthly magazine and was considered by many as the Civil War’s battle song of the Republic.   While this hymn was her claim to fame, Ms. Showalter gives us a complete look at Howe’s life from birth in 1819 to her spiritual re-birth and her death in 1910.  The book covers her early years and young adult years well, but goes more in depth regarding her courtship with Samuel Howe and her married life.  Julia really came into her own in midlife and beyond, where she laid the foundations for her legacy of civil rights support.   She was really an amazing woman who was a was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet.   This book gives you an intimate glimpse into her life and work. It is a must read for all you lovers of women’s history!