Picture Mulan in a tricornered hat and you get Deborah Sampson, who posed as a male soldier during the Revolutionary War for nearly two years before being discovered. Young follows Sampson's working-class roots through her army adventure -- she was wounded at the Battle of Tarrytown and served as an orderly to Brig. Gen. John Paterson. After being discharged from the army, she embarked on the first lecture-performance tour by an American woman and fought for nearly 40 years to get her general service pension (she eventually succeeded). Though Young occasionally lapses into dry academic-ese and never really answers why Sampson attempted her drag-soldier ruse, he's done some ace detective work on an obscure figure who unwittingly became a feminist icon.