Google
 
Web rhymeswithright.mu.nu

November 09, 2014

New Edition Of George Washington's Secret Six

I wrote this review when the original edition of this book was published. A year later, I'd like to share it again and add an observation about it.

* * *

I'll admit it -- I was skeptical. Any time I see a historical work written by a media personality, I have some doubts that enter my mind. Is the research rigorous? Is the POV ideological? is the writing any good? And so when I got an email offering me the opportunity to review George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade and best-selling author Don Yaeger, I wasn't sure what to expect. But as the son of a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a fan of thrillers by the likes of Tom Clancy, Ben Coes, and Daniel Silva, I decided to take the plunge.

Am I ever glad that I did.

Quite honestly, I loved the book.

After all, consider the situation after the Continental Army was forced to concede New York tot he British. Information was hard to come by. Nathan Hale was captured and executed as a spy. How was Washington to get information about troop strength and movement by the enemy? It fell to an unlikely group of civilians of various social classes and backgrounds -- including one woman -- to gather together observations and gossip to be passed on to Patriots. Known as the Culper Spy Ring, they were remarkably successful in carrying out their dangerous activities. Some were chased, others shot at, and one even captured (likely dying in captivity) over the course of six years. These amateurs used methods not dissimilar to the sort of tradecraft used by field agents of various intelligence agencies around the world -- and the methods used over two centuries ago by Washington's spies are still studied today by CIA agents. So successful were the Culpers that Washington had to see to their protection when at last the Continental Army returned to New York at the conclusion of the Revolution -- after all, some of them were known to be ardent Tories and were likely targets of revenge by their Patriot neighbors.

The book itself has its genesis in Kilmeade's youthful fascination with the Culper Spy Ring, which supplied George Washington with intelligence from New York in the years after the Continental Army lost the city to the British. As an adult, Kilmeade decided to share that fascination with the rest of the world in the form of a book that is scholarly enough to be accurate and breezy enough to be readable. Forget that Kilmeade is a television personality -- this is a guy sharing his knowledge about a topic he loves. I'd therefore categorize it as a "popular history". There are certainly books that go deeper into the history of the Culpers than Kilmeade does, but they are unlikely to ever get the audience this book will -- but may just end up steering readers to the more scholarly works. But even if it does not send every reader into a frenzy of academic research, George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution is a great story -- which might explain why my county library system has over 300 requests for it before it is even on the shelf. As for me, I'll be recommending the book to some of my students as one that they will learn from and enjoy.

* * *

And now for the new stuff.

If you have ever dealt with historians, you discover that they generally "go back to the well" and continue research on an era, a location, or a historical figure. I know I had a professor who did a series of histories of the small town where our college was located, looking at different periods and different classes of people. Frankly, I did not expect Kilmeade and Yaeger to do this. After all, this book does fall into the "popular history" category that I mentioned, and such books are rarely revisited by their authors after they are published. That is why I was surprised to get another email asking me if I would like a copy of a new edition of the book. It was unexpected -- other than the fact that this new edition is a paperback version. I accepted the offer, naturally, curious about the push for the publicity for what I presumed was simply the same book in a different cover.

I was wrong -- as I discovered when this edition of the book arrived a few days later. Kilmeade and Yaeger have actually added a new afterword to the book, dealing with the issue that they left unsettled and unresolved a year ago -- the identity of one of the spies whose name has been lost to us over the last couple centuries. Who was the Culper Ring's female member, the mysterious Agent 355?

That was the one question that I was displeased to have had left hanging after the finishing the book last year -- and I was not alone. Kilmeade and Yaeger received a great many communications from readers offering theories and speculations as to the identity of Agent 355. Not just names -- also suggestions that she was a composite of several women or that she did not actually exist. The authors reject the latter two theories and instead offer readers no less than seven possible individuals as possible spies. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of each as a candidate carefully, and ultimately make not final determination. The addition of this afterward, however, strengthens the book and leads me to once again suggest that readers will find it an edifying work.





|| Greg, 03:16 PM || Permalink || Comments (0) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for New Edition Of George Washington's Secret Six

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blog2.mu.nu/cgi/trackback.cgi/285772
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'New Edition Of George Washington's Secret Six'.

Comments on New Edition Of George Washington's Secret Six

Post a comment

Remember personal info?


 

 





AnotherMunublogSmall.jpg





Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)

Archives

January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



MuNuviana



Licensing

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64
AnotherMunublogSmall.jpg

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure

adpolicy.gif

About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site


Support This Site



Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run

Blogroll


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs