Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring

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Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 369 pages
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Turn: Washington's Spies, now an original series on AMC

Based on remarkable new research, acclaimed historian Alexander Rose brings to life the true story of the spy ring that helped America win the Revolutionary War. For the first time, Rose takes us beyond the battlefront and deep into the shadowy underworld of double agents and triple crosses, covert operations and code breaking, and unmasks the courageous, flawed men who inhabited this wilderness of mirrors--including the spymaster at the heart of it all.

In the summer of 1778, with the war poised to turn in his favor, General George Washington desperately needed to know where the British would strike next. To that end, he unleashed his secret weapon: an unlikely ring of spies in New York charged with discovering the enemy's battle plans and military strategy.

Washington's small band included a young Quaker torn between political principle and family loyalty, a swashbuckling sailor addicted to the perils of espionage, a hard-drinking barkeep, a Yale-educated cavalryman and friend of the doomed Nathan Hale, and a peaceful, sickly farmer who begged Washington to let him retire but who always came through in the end. Personally guiding these imperfect everyday heroes was Washington himself. In an era when officers were gentlemen, and gentlemen didn' t spy, he possessed an extraordinary talent for deception--and proved an adept spymaster.

The men he mentored were dubbed the Culper Ring. The British secret service tried to hunt them down, but they escaped by the closest of shaves thanks to their ciphers, dead drops, and invisible ink. Rose's thrilling narrative tells the unknown story of the Revolution-the murderous intelligence war, gunrunning and kidnapping, defectors and executioners--that has never appeared in the history books. But Washington's Spies is also a spirited, touching account of friendship and trust, fear and betrayal, amid the dark and silent world of the spy.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cmford0924 - LibraryThing

A good read, but not for the casual reader. If you are not a history buff then this book will not be for you. Admittedly, I only read it because I enjoyed AMC's Turn so much. I learned a lot about the characters and enjoyed the book. Keep a dictionary close as you read it. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fyrefly98 - LibraryThing

Summary: In the summer of 1778, the revolutionary war was going badly for George Washington and the colonial forces. They'd been forced to abandon New York City, leaving it in British hands, and ... Read full review


CH A P T E R O N E As Subtil Deep as Hell Itself
CH A P T E R Zw o The Year of the Hangman
CH A P T E R ZH R E E Genesis of the Culper Ring
CH A P T E R o U R 717 and the Sympathetic Stain
CH A P T E R v E The Man of Parts and Halves
CH A P T E R ſi x The Adventures of the Culper Ring
CH A P T E R Oſe v EN on His Majestys Secret Service
CH A P T E R G H T Spyhunters and Whaleboatmen
Depart in Peace
Zck Now L E D G M E N T S

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About the author (2014)

Alexander Rose earned his doctorate from Cambridge University, where his prizewinning research focused on political and scientific history. He is the author of Kings in the North: The House of Percy in British History and American Rifle: A Biography, and his writing has appeared in The New York Observer, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

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