George Washington’s Secret Six is an intriguing look back in time to the American Revolution when spying was considered loathsome by society and the very existence of our young nation was in question. The Culper Spy Ring made an amazing contribution that helped the United States survive the Revolutionary war. This book is a great window into the history and science of early American espionage and the “field craft” of the day. This book does a good job painting the picture of what the tactical mindset of the day was, and I couldn’t help but think about how even though the tools of war and espionage have changed the mindset has not.
I originally became interested in this book because I’m a big fan of AMC’s Turn series which is one of my favorite shows on television, hopefully AMC will bring it back for another season (cross your fingers). Full disclosure I listened to the audio version of the book through my Audible account rather than physically read it. I really enjoyed the book, it was detailed and really made the history exciting and come to life for me, furthermore it told a story that needs to be told so we can honor these heroes.
A quick note on audio books, I like to read and listen to books and since the new year I’ve decided to try and maximize my time by listening to audio books or podcasts while driving to work or in the gym etc.
Note: I did not fact check the information in this book independently, I have no reason not to trust the information as it is presented. To clear up any confusion I selected my standard evaluation categories based on what I would want to know about any book in general. For instance the Accuracy, and Credibility categories would be more applicable to a work of fiction for gauging realism, plausibility, and believably of a story. However I wanted to create a standard metric for evaluating all books not just this one.
Quick overview of what I’m evaluating in each category:
Story: Is the story good? Is it worth the time invested? What knowledge or entertainment did I get from the story?
Delivery: How well is the story/content communicated to the reader?
Accuracy: To what degree is the information in the book accurate and plausible.
Content: Does the book contain useful or entertaining knowledge, information, processes, or perspectives?
Credibility: To what degree are the author’s perspectives and assertions credible.
Experience: (The reader’s experience) To what degree the book draw’s your interest and captivates your imagination.
Story: Outstanding, interesting and insightful. This true story is one that should be in history class and military studies, the people in the story were true American heroes and patriots. Furthermore even though the technology of the day was different, the tactical thinking employed by the people in the book is still very applicable to the modern day.
Delivery: Good, I’m not sure if it could have been better or not, sometimes the book was difficult to follow due to the shear number of persons involved in the situations and the complex historical context. Despite being hard to follow at times I appreciated the author’s dedication to historical fact and accuracy.
Accuracy: Outstanding, all the information presented appears to be very well researched and presented based on the available evidence. When facts were not readily known the author was very forthcoming and clear about what was, and was not known facts or evidence.
Content: Outstanding, interesting story that draws you in while challenging you to understand and evaluate your mindset and strategic thinking. Tells a story that need to be told regarding some of our Nation’s earliest heroes.
Credibility: Outstanding, seemed to be very well researched and all depicted scenarios were based on actual recorded events, or clearly stated theories if no historical data was available. The author was very matter of fact regarding what was, and was not recorded fact or evidence.
Experience: Outstanding, the story is as exciting, dramatic, and strategic as it is true. The story is filled with daring deeds, strategic action, spy craft, and brutal realism. One of my favorite things about the book is that it takes place in and around NYC, with its rich story playing out in and around America’s most iconic city. To visualize how both America and NYC were born through blood shed and unrest to emerge what it is today is nothing short of amazing and really adds to already rich spy story.