Hannah Snell: The Secret Life of a Female Marine, 1723-1792

TitleHannah Snell: The Secret Life of a Female Marine, 1723-1792
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsStephens, Matthew
Number of Pages63
PublisherShip Street Press

On a hot June afternoon in 1750, a young soldier named James Gray made an announcement that shocked a London tavern crowd into silence. He declared, "James Gray will cast his skin like a snake and become a new creature. In a word, gentlemen, I am as much a woman as my mother ever was and my real name is Hannah Snell!" And so began the public life of Britain's most famous female soldier. In 1750, Hannah Snell captivated London theatre audiences with tales of her disguise as a man. From the moment Hannah Snell revealed her secret, authors, journalists and playwrights have written their version of this extraordinary woman's story. While some have accused Snell of being a charlatan, others have believed her every word. For the first time, Matthew Stephens has looked behind the myths and reveals an intriguing tale of bravery and deceit and has discovered previously unknown archival material in his quest to test a narrative carefully constructed by Hannah’s publisher, Robert Walker.

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