America's First Female Soldier: Deborah Sampson

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Alex Myers' new novel, "Revolutionary," tells the story of a 22-year-old weaver who yearns for something more. She feels trapped in 18th century Massachusetts and tells her closest friend, "There is a world out there, beyond weaving, beyond housework." So she cuts her hair, disguises herself as a man and fights heroically in the Continental Army.

The gripping novel is based on the true story of Deborah Sampson -- recognized as a true hero in America's war for independence. In 1983, the Massachusetts legislature named her the official state heroine and declared May 23 "Deborah Sampson Day."

Her story inspired author Alex Myers, who is a female-to-male transgender person, was the first openly transgender student at Harvard and, over the years, has campaigned for transgender rights. His unique perspective reminds us that conversations around gender identity are hardly modern.


Alex Myers, author of "Revolutionary" and a fellow in the English department at Georgetown University. He tweets at @MyersWriting.


The Boston Globe: ‘Revolutionary’ By Alex Myers

  • "Alex Myers’s page-turning, adventure-filled debut novel is a vividly-detailed fictionalization of the true story of Massachusetts-born Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to enlist and fight in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War."

The New York Times: A Personal Revolution Is Set Amid An Epic One

  • "Deborah Samson is 22 and free of indenture, but addicted to adventure. She has left the church, and yet she is a believer of sorts, in independence for the American colonies and for herself. She recoils at orders to serve at table, and yet she yearns to serve in arms."

This segment aired on January 31, 2014.


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