Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson

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9780805082005: Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson

In the 1700s, women’s responsibilities were primarily child rearing and household duties. But Deborah Sampson wanted more from life. She wanted to read, to travel—and to fight for her country’s independence. When the colonies went to war with the British in 1775, Deborah was intent on being part of the action. Seeing no other option, she disguised herself in a man’s uniform and served in the Continental army for more than a year, her identity hidden from her fellow soldiers.

Accomplished writer Sheila Solomon Klass creates a gripping firstperson account of an extraordinary woman who lived a life full of danger, adventure, and intrigue.

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About the Author:

SHEILA SOLOMON KLASS has been writing fiction for young adults for nearly five decades. Her books include The Uncivil War ; Shooting Star: A Novel About Annie Oakley; and Little Women Next Door. Ms. Klass lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

The real-life Deborah Sampson's experiences dressing as a man for two years to serve as a soldier during the Revolutionary War form the foundation of Klass's (The Uncivil War) provocative historical novel. The story starts with a terrific hook: hospitalized with yellow fever, the soldier/narrator known as Robert Shurtliff pretends to be dead to evade examination by the nurses: "Being buried alive [was] a terrible fate, but preferable to being discovered," claims the narrator, who has yet to disclose Shurtliff's real identity. As the grave diggers fight over Shurtliff's boots, a nurse realizes her patient is still alive, leading to a doctor's discovery that the patient is female. Bringing her to his home to recover in safety, he persuades her to write down her story. Readers then learn that Sampson was a "give-away child," passed into indentured servitude because her mother was unable to support her. Finally freed, she still feels hampered by the stringent restrictions placed on women and begins to disguise herself as a man. At times Sampson comes across as self-absorbed; it's Klass's telling use of details that brings this story to life. Ages 12–16. (Mar.)
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Klass, Sheila Solomon
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