Book review: George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade

George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American RevolutionGeorge Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting book in several ways. First, it’s a fascinating look at a little known part of Revolutionary War history. The Culper Spy Ring was instrumental in helping General George Washington by providing him with vital intelligence about British military movements in New York, including information about Benedict Arnold’s attempted and nearly successful treachery. Second, while most of the ring’s identities have been uncovered, the identity of one member–the only woman in the ring–is still unknown and her fate undetermined. The book makes a somewhat convincing case of her probable fate, but it is all conjecture. Third, the book is written in the fashion of a thriller or mystery rather than a non-fiction history. Chapters end with teasers to encourage you to read the next chapter. I’m convinced that more people would read history if more history books were written this way. (Note: the idiosyncrasies of this book does make it come across as a bit amateurish, but if those idiosyncrasies make it an easy read, I have no issues with it.)
This is a very quick and interesting read on an obscure part of the history of the Revolutionary War and the importance of intelligence-gathering during armed conflict. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could, as I think the book could have used more depth. That being said, I definitely recommend it!

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