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Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring Paperback – Illustrated, May 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
“Fascinating . . . Spies proved to be the tipping point in the summer of 1778, helping Washington begin breaking the stalemate with the British. . . . [Alexander] Rose’s book brings to light their crucial help in winning American independence.”—Chicago Tribune
“[Rose] captures the human dimension of spying, war and leadership . . . from the naive twenty-one-year-old Nathan Hale, who was captured and executed, to the quietly cunning Benjamin Tallmadge, who organized the ring in 1778, to the traitorous Benedict Arnold.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Rose gives us intrigue, crossed signals, derring-do, and a priceless slice of eighteenth-century life. Think of Alan Furst with muskets.”—Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father
“A compelling portrait of [a] rogues’ gallery of barkeeps, misfits, hypochondriacs, part-time smugglers, and full-time neurotics that will remind every reader of the cast of a John le Carré novel.”—Arthur Herman, National Review
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
"Kilmeade and Yaeger have spun more than one story here. This non-fiction book hovers dangerously close to the side of fiction" [whereas] "Historians can refer with confidence to Alexander Rose’s book."
The reviewer provides this side-by-side comparison of Rose’s book with Kilmeade’s and Yaeger’s:
Bibliography: 16½ pages, including 4½ pages of primary sources alone.
Notes: 60 pages, documenting every quotation and inference.
Bibliography: 6 pages, with 3 primary sources listed.
I will add this: Not only is "Washington's Spies" the better history, it is well-written history that will keep you reading from cover to cover. It's not just about the Culper Spy Ring; it's also an interesting look at life in New York City and on Long Island during the Revolutionary War. You will gain added insight as to why the British lost that war and their American colonies by indulging in neglect, greed, corruption, and brutality that ultimately hardened the resolve of Patriots and lost the allegiance of many disheartened Loyalists.
I give 5-stars to "Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring."
I was originally drawn to this book wanting to research more on the life of Capt. Nathan Hale, which is certainly an integral part of Rose's work, but it goes much farther than that. What I discovered was a most enlightening look at a world within the mechanisms of war in the field of intelligence and espionage. I had never really considered the importance of the role played by these characters.
Rose's finished product is gruelingly meticulous in presenting us a valuable look into the inner workings of America's first spy ring. It is well written, flows well and presents the war effort from a perspective largely overlooked in the annals of American history. The note section is unbelievably comprehensive composing 80 of the 360 pages of this book.
If you're seeking a look into the Revolutionary War from a new angle, you will not want to miss reading this one. It's probably not for everyone. If you don't already have a pretty sound understanding of the war's events, this book may drag on a bit for you, but I believe it would be well worth the effort and will certainly render insight into the war from a largely untapped venue.
I've always wondered why there's never been a well-known movie or book about the tragic, heroic Nathan Hale. The first chapter explains why!
My only critique of Mr. Rose's work is that at some points he throws a dizzying amount of names and places at you, and you have to flip back to review the introduction of recurring characters in the text.