From Publishers Weekly
The unfamiliar terrain of Britain's American colonies made it vital for both sides to gain knowledge of enemy troop movements during the Revolutionary War. But acquiring that information called for a level of espionage that neither side was prepared for, requiring both to make up many of their operational procedures as they went along. Rose (Kings in the North
) focuses on a small band of Americans, longtime friends who created an intelligence network known as the Culper Ring to funnel information to George Washington about the British troops in and around New York City. The author quotes extensively from their correspondence, showing how contentious the relationship between the general and his spies could get, especially when Washington thought they were underperforming. Rose also delves into technical aspects of the Culpers' spycraft, like their attempts at cryptography and invisible ink. Although his story is compelling in its descriptions of occupied New York, where patriots and loyalists lived together in an uneasy balance, it is diffused somewhat by lengthy digressions into the more well-known spy tales of Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold. Be sure to follow along with the footnotes, too—Rose works in several more anecdotes among his documentation. (May 2)
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"Fascinating…. tells how the work of the spies proved to be the tipping point in the summer of 1778, helping Washington begin breaking the stalemate with the British…. [and] brings to light their crucial help in winning American independence."—Dallas Morning News
"After working on Washington, I knew there was a story to tell about his reliance on spies during the Revolutionary War. But I believed the story could never be told because the evidence did not exist. Well, I was wrong, and Alexander Rose tells this important story with style and wit."—Joseph Ellis, author of His Excellency: George Washington
"Making brilliant use of documentary sources, Rose gives us intrigue, crossed signals, derring-do, and a priceless slice of 18th century life…Rose unfolds the story of a Long Island-based spy ring of idealists and misfits who kept George Washington informed of what was going on in enemy-occupied New York." —Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington
"Rose has used some valuable new historical sources to tell this interesting story…. Excellent."—Deseret Morning News