Julia Ward (1819-1910) was an heiress who married a handsome accomplished doctor who worked with the blind and deaf. But Samuel Howe wasted her inheritance, mistreated and belittled her, and tried to stifle her intellect and freedom. Nevertheless Julia persisted and wrote poetry and a mildly shocking sexual novel that was published to good reviews. She also wrote the words to probably the most famous anthem in the country’s history - the Civil War anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
After Samuel died when she was fifty-one, Julia lived another forty years as a dynamic, tireless, and successful activist for women’s rights, pacifism, and social reform. She became a groundbreaking figure in the abolitionist and suffrage movements, and a successful author and lecturer who fought her own battle for creative freedom and independence. In The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe, 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.
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