AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Overviews

A - O

Abbott, Wilbur C. New York in the American Revolution. New York: Scribner's, 1929. New York: Haskell House, 1975.

Reviewed by Cowie, New England Quarterly 3.2 (Apr. 1930), 372-375.

Allen, Thomas B. Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.

Goulden, Washington Times, 6 Dec. 2010, and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), notes that in this "magisterial study" the author "pays keen attention to the intelligence aspects of the war." Waldsteicher, New York Times, 10 Dec. 2010, comments that "[r]ecruiters of spies as well as the spies themselves faced the gallows, and Allen tells us who kicked the box and how the body swayed."

Augur, Helen. The Secret War of Independence. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1955. Boston: Little, Brown, 1955. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1976.

According to Constantinides, scholars regard this work as "thoroughly researched, utilizing the best secondary sources and manuscript collections, as well as reliable and marked by good judgment.... Only the secret war in Europe is treated...; consequently, the title is somewhat misleading."

Bakeless, John.

1. "Spies in the Revolution." American History Illustrated 6 (Jun. 1971): 36-45. [Petersen]

2.. Turncoats, Traitors and Heroes: Espionage in the American Revolution. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1959. New York: Da Capo, 1998. New York: Da Capo, 2005. [pb]

Pforzheimer notes that this is "considered to be the best general work" available on intelligence aspects of the Revolutionary War. While "somewhat fragmented and choppy," it is "loaded with information." For Constantinides the book is "a history of espionage in the main theater of war.... [F]or the area of operations covered, it is one of the best works available.... [I]t gives a vivid picture of General Washington's interest in intelligence and deception and the value he placed on effective intelligence."

Commenting on the 1998 reprint, Kruh, Cryptologia 24.3, finds the work "still relevant today.... Based on almost 20 years of research, the author provides a thorough study of the espionage, counterespionage, and other military intelligence services in the Continental and British armies."

Barch, Dorothey C., ed. Minutes of the Committee and First Commission for Detecting Conspiracies. New York: New York Historical Society, 1924.

American counterintelligence efforts in New York were conducted under the auspices of the "New York State Committee and Commission for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies," headed by John Jay until mid-February 1777. Rose, Intelligencer 11.2/12.

Bemis, Samuel Flagg. "Secret Intelligence, 1777: Two Documents." Huntington Library Quarterly 24, no. 3 (1971): 233-248. [Petersen]

Berger, Carl. Broadsides and Bayonets; the Propaganda War of the American Revolution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961.

Bowers, Ray L. "The American Revolution: A Study in Insurgency." Military Review 46, no. 7 (1966): 64-72. [Petersen]

Boyd, Julian P. Number 7, Alexander Hamilton's Secret Attempts to Control American Foreign Policy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964.

Burnett, Edmund C. "Ciphers of the Revolutionary Period." American Historical Review 22 (Jan. 1917): 329-334. [Petersen]

Butterfield, Lyman H. "Psychological Warfare in 1776: the Jefferson-Franklin Plan to Cause Hessian Desertions." American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Proceedings 94 (20 Jun. 1950): 233-241. [Petersen]

Casey, William J. Where and How the War Was Fought: An Armchair Tour of the American Revolution. New York: Morrow, 1976.

Cummings, Light. "Spanish Espionage in the South during the American Revolution." Southern Studies 19 (1980): 39-49. [Petersen]

Daigler, Kenneth A.

1. "American Covert Action in the Revolutionary War." Intelligencer 15, no. 2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007): 39-46.

A nice, easy (but unsourced) romp through the "massive covert actions ... undertaken in support of the American cause.... France, and to a far lesser degree Spain, were America's partners.... These activities were run out of the American Commission in Paris.... The role covert action played in gaining American independence ... was vital, necessary and largely successful."

2. Rose, P.K. [Pseud., Kenneth A. Daigler] "The Founding Fathers of American Intelligence." Intelligencer 11, no. 2 (Winter 2000): 9-15. [Appeared originally in Studies in Intelligence (Summer 2000).]

Vignettes of "George Washington: The First American Intelligence Chief," "John Jay: America's First Counterintelligence Chief," and "Benjamin Franklin: Master of Covert Action."

3. "Samuel Adams and the Covert Action Campaign that Led to the American Revolution." Intelligencer 16, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 37-51.

The author details the role of the Sons of Liberty and Samuel Adams in the covert action campaign to build support for seeking independence from Britain.

4. Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014.

Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2014), notes that the author "makes a good case" that "John Honeyman a spy" for provided General Washington. Daigler "places special emphasis on Washington's intuitively skillful use of tradecraft." This work "provides a good review of intelligence in the Revolutionary War as viewed by a professional."

Davidson, Philip. Propaganda and the American Revolution. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1941.

Ford, Corey. A Peculiar Service: A Narrative of Espionage in and Around New York during the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown, 1965.

Constantinides: This work covers "the cases of Nathan Hale, Major André, and Benedict Arnold and the work of the Culper Ring"; therefore, it is not a complete history of U.S. intelligence during the Revolutionary War.

Johnston, Henry P. "The Secret Service of the Revolution." The Magazine of American History 8 (Feb. 1882): 95-105.

McBurney, Christian M.. Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott. Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2013.

This is the story of the captures and exchange of Continental Army Maj. Gen. Charles "Mad" Lee and British Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott. Goulden, Washington Times, 7 Apr. 2014, and Intelligencer 20.3 (Spring-Summer 2014), says the author's "tangled story ... is superbly researched and presented in lively prose that makes for easy reading." For Peake, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), this "is a little known story of the War for Independence, beautifully told, wonderfully documented, and a pleasure to read."

Nagy, John A.

1. Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution. Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.2 (Jun. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), notes that this work "is based primarily on firsthand accounts and primary documents. It is a grand refresher on Revolutionary War espionage and leaves no doubt that secure communications have been an important element in the history of American national security."

2. Rebellion in the Ranks: Mutinies of the American Revolution. Chicago, IL: Westholme, 2007.

Although intelligence is not mentioned in the advertising literature, the author notes in private correspondence that in addition to "being the only book that ever covered mutinies as a subject for the entire American Revolution, it also identifies 30 spies in the American Revolution of which some are outed for the first time. It also correct[s] some of the names of spies of which Carl Van Doren in Mutiny in January (1943) guessed."

3. Spies in the Continental Capital: Espionage Across Pennsylvania During the American Revolution. Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2011.

Peake, Studies 56.4 (Dec. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), comments that the author "keeps the emphasis on spies on both sides, and sometimes the narrative is a bit choppy for lack of historical context. The book's documentation is extensive.... For those unaware of the extent of espionage in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War, Spies in the Continental Capital will be an eye-opener and a source for further research."

4. Dr. Benjamin Church, Spy: A Case of Espionage on the Eve of the American Revolution. Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), sees this as "a fine study of America's first case of espionage and a positive contribution to the intelligence literature." For Goulden, Washington Times, 28 Apr. 2014, and Intelligencer 20.3 (Spring-Summer 2014), the author "has produced a valuable source book on intelligence during the American Revolution and a good read."

Nathan Hale Institute. Intelligence in the War of Independence. Washington, DC: n.d.

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