Wook Kim
June 06, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Miss Stone Affair: America's First Hostage Crisis

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Teresa Carpenter
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B-

She was a plain-looking spinster, a missionary determined to do God’s work in the political turmoil of turn-of-the-last-century Eastern Europe. It was only after she (along with a young Bulgarian mother) was abducted by a ragtag band of revolutionaries that Ellen Maria Stone became, in the words of one indignant cleric, ”one of the choicest representatives of American womanhood.” Stone’s six-month ordeal is a fascinating, intrigue-filled tale whose larger theme is the emergence of the U.S. from the wings of the world stage. But Carpenter’s considerable reporting skills get the better of her: Sadly, it is the reader who, waylaid by extraneous details and political history, is ultimately held hostage.

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