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Washington's Spies
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About the Author

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.

Reviews

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) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Alexander Rose tells this important story with style and wit."--Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph J. Ellis

"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 Carre novel."--Arthur Herman, National Review

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