For sheer bravado and style, no woman in the North or South rivaled the Civil War heroine Rose O'Neale Greenhow. Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself. In this superb portrait, biographer Ann Blackman tells the surprising true story of a unique woman. "I am a Southern woman, born with revolutionary blood in my veins," Rose once declared-and that fiery spirit would plunge her into the center of power and the thick of adventure. Born into a slave-holding family in Maryland, Rose moved to Washington, D.C., as a young woman and soon established herself as one of the capital's most charming and influential socialites, an intimate of John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and Dolley Madison. She married well, bore eight children and buried five, and, at the height of the Gold Rush, accompanied her husband, Robert Greenhow, to San Francisco. Widowed after Robert died in a tragic accident, Rose became notorious in Washington for her daring-and numerous-love affairs. But with the outbreak of the Civil War, everything changed. Overnight, Rose Greenhow, fashionable hostess, became Rose Greenhow, intrepid spy. As Blackman reveals, Rose supplied deadly accurate intelligence, written in a fascinating code (reproduced in the background of this book jacket), to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard. Her message to him turned the tide in the first Battle of Bull Run, but this brilliant piece of spycraft eventually led to her arrest by Allan Pinkerton and imprisonment with her young daughter. Indomitable, Rose regained her freedom and, as the war reached a crisis, journeyed to Europe to plead the Confederate cause at the royal courts of England and France. Drawing on newly discovered diaries and a rich trove of contemporary accounts, Blackman has fashioned a thrilling, intimate narrative that reads like a novel. Wild Rose is an unforgettable rendering of an astonishing woman, a book that will stand with the finest Civil War biographies. Book jacket.