14 January 2016

DAR Book Club Review: George Washington's Secret Six

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First, let me tell you that DAR is the Daughters of the American Revolution, and that we are history buffs and especially as it relates to the American Revolution.  All members, including myself, have been able to track our relatives who fought for Amerian Independence.



We love to read both fiction and non fiction about the American Revolution.  The nonfiction books help us to determine if the fiction was accurate or not!  This book George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the Amerian Revolution was a nonfiction book that read like fiction.  The book was spellbinding and often I found myself reading far too late into the night.

The book centers around six people who bravely helped George Washington get information from the British while they were holding New York City.  One of the people was a woman, who was caught and taken to the prisoner ship in the bay.  No other news is learned about her and so it is thought she died on the ship.  No one knows her name.

The others, all men, had written correspondence that was kept by either George Washington or by family members and over a course of 200 years, pieces of the puzzle have been put together.  A serendipity moment places some family letters in the hands of the author, and he is able to weave another piece of the spy ring puzzle.

Throughout the book, historical figures such as John Andre, Benedict Arnold, Nathan Hale, and General Howe, come to life as real men. George Washington is fascinating to read about, his decision making, his strategies and over all brilliance shine through in this book.  Truly I haven't known the man that succeeded in beating the British back to England until now.

These six make up the ring:  Robert Townsend, newspaper editor whose identity was even secret from Washington, Austin Roe, bartender who put both his job and life on stake (his pub is still standing today), Caleb Brewster longshoreman who carried messages between Connecticut and New York, Abraham Woodhull who had perfect family excuse for New York travel, James Rivington who was responsible for collecting information from British officers in his shop,  and a female called Agent 355, whose identity still remains unknown and who used her woman's opportunities to deceive men and learn useful information.

A wonderful book about a fascinating time in our country's history.  

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