By Guest Reviewer, Tracy Arizmendi:
Think spy networks were developed during modern times? Think again! Undercover spy networks in the United States date back to the Revolutionary War.
Even though I read George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution, I still think about it. In this amazing historical account, authors Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger, revealed one of the most fascinating but unknown parts of our nation’s history, the story of the Culper Spy Ring. This book was well-researched and well-written, and kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the final page. Kilmeade and Yaeger entertain the reader by unfolding the tale of the formation of the Culper Ring without sacrificing historical facts in the process. This was important to me as I have always been enthusiastic about history. This book reads as a novel, not just a bland re-telling of dates and facts.
I purchased this book after seeing the title and wondered to myself, “Spy ring? I never remember studying about a spy network during my American history courses.” Immediately, I was intrigued and started reading the book. Of course, I recalled many of the events leading up to, and during the Revolutionary War, but the story of the Culper Spy Ring was news to me. The authors made a great point of highlighting General Washington’s realization that the Continental Army would not win the war against the British without obtaining inside information. “He could not defeat his foe with manpower, arms, or any other show of force. He would have to beat the British in a battle of wits.” Thus began Washington’s development of our country’s first organized espionage network.
After reading this book I realized just how much I still do not know about the founding of our great country. There is much more to learn beyond the names and facts we were all made to memorize during our early education. The book also led me to think about how many untold stories of heroism there are in every war. The members of the Culper Spy Ring, most of whom were not military personnel or skilled in espionage, risked their lives on a daily basis to get vital information to further the cause of the Patriots without any recognition or reward for their efforts. In fact, it took a couple of hundred years before the all the members could be identified, and thanks to the research and publication of this book, the members of the Culper Spy Ring were finally recognized for their service to this country. The same is true even today for those individuals in clandestine service who work tirelessly on our nation’s behalf without acknowledgement – not even from within their own agency.
George Washington’s Secret Six illustrates the importance of intelligence gathering, as well as the high price paid by those individuals working undercover to obtain that information. Without the dedication of everyday citizens, like the members of the Culper Spy Ring, our nation would not exist as we know it today. Finally, if you are interested in learning unknown history about the founding of our country, are looking for an exciting book to read, and if you love history, pick up a copy of George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution. It will not disappoint.