Espionage in the American Revolution

Staff Picks

Espionage in the American Revolution

History Books for Fans of "A Call to Spy" and "Traitors"

While American school children are taught about Benedict Arnold, the most famous spy of the Revolutionary War, most people never learn about the widespread and advanced level of espionage that occurred on both sides of the war and helped the Americans to victory. Below are some titles that can read like fiction but are very real tales of the spies and spying from the American Revolution. 

Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War by Kenneth A. Daigler - A wide ranging look at the espionage practiced during the American Revolution, Spies, Patriots, and Traitors is an excellent overview of the various techniques, people, and areas in which spycraft helped or hurt the war effort.

Washington’s Spies by Alexander Rose - Rose delivers a well researched and engaging look at the Culper Ring of spies. Giving great detail on the personalities and the methods used, Washington’s Spies follows what could be considered the first intelligence operation of the new country that it would help win its freedom. 

Dr. Benjamin Church, Spy: A Case of Espionage on the Eve of the American Revolution by John A. Nagy - Was Benjamin Church a spy for the British? With extensive research, including some newly uncovered letters, Nagy attempts to answer this question conclusively. It is up to the reader to decide if the evidence is compelling enough to make the answer definitive. 

The Life of John Andre by D. A. B. Ronald - More comprehensive biography of Andre rather than just a look at his espionage activities, The Life of John Andre nonetheless is a detailed and well researched look at the British spy leader in America and his attempt to capture West Point and George Washington through the defector Benedict Arnold.

George Washington's Secret Spy War: The Making of America's First Spymaster by John A. Nagy - Nagy takes a much larger view of Washington’s espionage activities by beginning with his experiences during the French and Indian War and how he applied those lessons to espionage while leading the Revolutionary War. 

The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold by Joyce Lee Malcolm - How does a celebrated military officer become a synonym for traitor? The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold attempts to answer that with an exploration of Arnold, his family, and the events surrounding his defection. Well researched and using some recently discovered sources, Malcolm tells a more complete story of the most famous traitor in America.

About the Author

staff picks avatar for Melissa N

Melissa is an adult services librarian and a freelance copy editor. She spends the majority of her waking hours reading romance, cozy mysteries, urban fantasy, and history. She also enjoys traveling and the theater.

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