"The truth is indeed stranger than fiction," says H. Donald Winkler, author of, "Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War." Winkler is right, especially pertaining to the topic of his book, which focuses on female spies in the Civil War. Women such as Rose Greenhow and Sarah Slater hid secrets in their dresses and hair and brought them illegally over enemy lines despite the risks. Winkler makes reading about the Civil War interesting and exciting. One would recommend this book to others because it is well researched, well organized and presented and it is predominantly objective. .
One cannot write a historical nonfiction book without doing at least a little bit of research. H. Donald Winkler did that and more with his research of female spies during the Civil War. He read many books on Civil War spies but could not find a lot about female spies, so he had to look many different places to piece together all of the information. It was also difficult to gather information because there was a lack of official records and a lack of access to records. He called historical societies, libraries and other local historians. He conferred with historical organizations that had files on spies that were in their area. Winkler also had access to rare and previously unknown information, photographs and newspaper clippings he got from scholars, tour guides and local historians like Karla Vernon, Susan Block and Lewis Leigh Jr. Even though there was not a lot of access to files owned by the government, the files that he could get his hands on were Winkler's best sources. The CIA had a hefty amount of files on Civil War spies, which included old newspaper clippings and diaries, journals and memoirs written directly by the spies themselves. The different manuscripts, such as letters to and from Antonia Ford, Sarah Thompson's papers and other various letters and documents are found in state and national archives.