George Washington's Secret Six

George Washington's Secret Six

The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution

Book - 2013
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When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied - thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called teh Culper Spy Ring.

Washington realized that he couldn't beat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. So carefully guarded were the members' identities that one spy's name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one remains unknown today. But by now, historians have discovered enough information about the ring's activities to piece together evidence that these six individuals turned the tide of the war.

Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have painted compelling portraits of George Washington's secret six:

Robert Townsend, the reserved Quaker merchant and reporter who headed the Culper Ring, keeping his identity secret even from Washington; Austin Roe, the tavern keeper who risked his employment and his life in order to protect the mission; Caleb Brewster, the brash young longshoreman who loved baiting the British and agreed to ferry messages between Connecticut and New York; Abraham Woodhull, the curmudgeonly (and surprisingly nervous) Long Island bachelor with business and family excuses for traveling to Manhattan; James Rivington, the owner of a posh coffeehouse and print shop where high-ranking British officers gossiped about secret operations; Agent 355, a woman whose identity remains unknown but who seems to have used her wit and charm to coax officers to share vital secrets.

In George Washington's Secret Six , Townsend and his fellow spies finally receive their due, taking their place among the pantheon of heroes of the American Revolution.

'As a Long Islander endlessly fascinated by events that happened in a place I call home, I hope with this book to give the secret six the credit they didn't get in life. The Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who give so much for their country but, because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions.' Brian Kilmeade

Praise for George Washington's Secret Six

'A fascinating and gripping account.' Donald Rumsfeld

'James Bond is a rank amateur compared to the heroic efforts of the Culper Ring. Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaegers' work demonstrates why the story of the secret six should be anything but a secret in American history.' Harvey Mackay, author of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

'A rollicking read by Kilmeade and Yaeger, acknowledging a long overdue debt to six American heroes.' Karl Rove

'We would not have won the Revolution and secured our freedom were it not for the leadership of George Washington and the courage of the spies he set in motion. George Washington's Secret Six is a gripping and informative read.' Congressman Pete King, chairman of the counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee, House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security

'It would have been an honor to have served with Robert Townsend and the rest of the Culper spies in any of the deep-cover intelligence operations I spearheaded over twenty-seven years.' Wayne simmons, coauthor of The Natanz Directive; CIA-Outside Paramilitary special Operations

'Freedom is not free, never has been, and never will be, Kilmeade and Yaeger have done a wonderful job in reminding us all of the cost. Great read.' General Tommy Franks (U.S. Army, ret.)

'A historical gem. I loved it.' Donald Trump

Publisher: New York : Sentinel, 2013.
ISBN: 9781595231031
Characteristics: 235 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Yaeger, Don


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Aug 04, 2020

A good read but as much as a novel as history.

May 04, 2020

Great book!

Aug 13, 2019

a historical gem ,I loved it.

IndyPL_SteveB Apr 19, 2019

Interesting book about a nearly-forgotten New York spy ring during the American Revolution. As in all wars, the British and Americans spied on each other. General Washington appreciated the need for spies, but had great difficulty on getting information on British-held New York City. Nathan Hale, for all of his bravery, had been a spectacular and public failure as a spy, and it seemed that others were not willing to risk their lives. But when Major Benjamin Tallmadge was given the job of organizing the espionage activity, he brought a group together. Among other things, the spy ring found the connection between American General Benedict Arnold and British Major John André before Arnold managed to hand over West Point to the British.

Kilmeade and Yaeger give a welcome insight into the American Revolution, in a readable history that will be accessible and entertaining to many people. However several historians have criticized the book’s fictionalized dialogue and motivations.

PimaLib_BlaireB Jul 21, 2016

A very nice introduction to a topic not frequently discussed. This book felt to me to be a primer to incredibly interesting content regarding the Revolutionary War and spy/ clandestine services. After reading this I want to know more about the subject/individuals involved! If you're into history it provides a nice read with a different story than your typical war story. The content itself carried the book farther than the writing style. I'd absolutely pass this book onto a friend to enjoy the rich secret history from the Revolutionary War.

A note about the writing style itself: The book could have used some more polish and editing as I came upon many errors that threw me off a bit. The writing felt a hasty.

Jun 08, 2016

An interesting read on a subject I didn't know anything about. It has sparked more curiosity especially about Agent 355. I may pick up "Washington's Spies" by Alexander Rose for more reading.

AbigailCurious Feb 05, 2015

Its a masterpiece. this book proves that truth is better than fiction. its the account of the invisible people that managed to give us freedom.

Jun 30, 2014

This book should have been better than it is. It seemed to have been hurriedly written and, despite its fascinating subject matter, was not very interesting. I had trouble getting excited about the fates of any of the ring because of the bland writing style. Too bad. The authors tried to strike a balance between academic coverage and popularization and didn't do either one very well.

Jun 09, 2014

I found this to be a great book to introduce me to the Culper Ring, of which I knew very little. It is an excellent overview of the people involved, their activities, and the effect they had on the outcome of the Revolutionary War. It is well written and easy to read. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 for the following reasons: (1) I would have appreciated a simple chart giving the names of the individuals with their corresponding code name. The authors use both in their text and (of course) the letters from which they quote use only the code names. Especially since "Tallmadge" and Townsend" can be confusing as one is reading along, a simple chart (which I eventually just made up myself) would have been a welcome addition to this book; (2) I would have appreciated a little more information on the ultimate fate of Benedict Arnold. The book leaves him arriving in England after escaping from the colonies after his duplicity was discovered. Although a fairly well-known chapter in our history, giving more information on his ultimate fate would have helped "wrap things up" more neatly; and (3) I would have appreciated more information into what research has and is being done about these people-what led to the determination of who was actually in the ring and who did that research, etc. There is a cursory mention of this in the Epilogue, Acknowledgements, and subsequent source notes, but it's pretty scanty. Having said that, this is a great "starter" read about this fascinating group of people.


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Jul 13, 2014

red_dog_9666 thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and over


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