• Freedom's Detective

  • The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan and the Man Who Masterminded America's First War on Terror
  • By: Charles Lane
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (123 ratings)

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Freedom's Detective

By: Charles Lane
Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
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Publisher's Summary

Freedom’s Detective reveals the untold story of the Reconstruction-era US Secret Service and their battle against the Ku Klux Klan, through the career of its controversial chief, Hiram C. Whitle.

In the years following the Civil War, a new battle began. Newly freed African American men had gained their voting rights and would soon have a chance to transform Southern politics. Former Confederates and other white supremacists mobilized to stop them. Thus, the KKK was born. 

After the first political assassination carried out by the Klan, Washington power brokers looked for help in breaking the growing movement. They found it in Hiram C. Whitley. He became head of the Secret Service, which had previously focused on catching counterfeiters and was at the time the government’s only intelligence organization. Whitley and his agents led the covert war against the nascent KKK and were the first to use undercover work in mass crime - what we now call terrorism - investigations. 

Like many spymasters before and since, Whitley also had a dark side. His penchant for skulduggery and dirty tricks ultimately led to his involvement in a conspiracy that would bring an end to his career and transform the Secret Service. 

Populated by intriguing historical characters - from President Grant to brave Southerners, both Black and White, who stood up to the Klan - and told in a brisk narrative style, Freedom’s Detective reveals the story of this complex hero and his central role in a long-lost chapter of American history.

©2019 Charles Lane (P)2019 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

Critic Reviews

“This is a powerful, vitally important story, and Lane brings it to life with not only vast amounts of research but with a remarkable gift for storytelling that makes the pages fly by.” (Candice Millard, author of The River of Doubt and Hero of the Empire)

What listeners say about Freedom's Detective

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good perspective

No matter how divided our modern society seems, at least we’re not lynching each other because of choice of political party anymore. It’s interesting to see how so many modern issues were relevant more than one hundred years ago.

4 people found this helpful

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Evan Review

If you like US History of reconstruction and law enforcement you will enjoy this book of how the Serect Service came about during this period of history I always why the Serect Service name came about. I always thought it came from Pinkey Detective Agency but you find out different.

4 people found this helpful

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No, #notallwhitepeople & not Hiram C. Whitley...

It is difficult to pin one attribute or description on the conflicted, heroic men who fought against the advent of white domestic terrorism that still plagues the USA - but Hiram C. Whitley was an imperfect superhero who seemed surprised to find out that he was actually quite principled in his fight against brutal criminal racists who'd rather see the United States burn than sharing it with formerly enslaved African Americans. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to know the depth of white supremacy roots and the lengths extraordinary plain folk went to in trying to dig them up. Jonathan Yen's narration was mesmerizing and held my attention from the start. I cannot thank Charles Lane enough for telling the truths about our nation's great sin of racism from the perspective of Hiram C. Whitley - a man who both benefitted from and fought against it.

2 people found this helpful

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Right Does Wrong

My wife asked me to listen to this book, so I did. Hiram C. Whitley lived on situational ethics. What he was asked to do, if he agreed, he put himself fully into and did his best, even if his sense of ethics lapsed now and again. The book dragged a bit now and again while the author quoted diaries and court records. I recommend watching You Tube highlights of soccer while listening to the book. This makes the book listening go much faster. I learned a lot about the Bayern Munich soccer team and the Secret Service.

1 person found this helpful

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  • aw
  • 09-26-20

Interesting history

I'm glad I listened to this book. I wish it had been a little bit more in chronological order but I also realize at some points so much was going on it had to be told by following one story line and then the other even though we had to go back in time.

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didn't enjoy

I did not enjoy this book. The story seemed promising from the description, but I found there wasn't a very coherent narrative and the different threads were jammed together and I found it hard to follow. I also found the narrator to be mediocre.

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Not Worth Your Time

Wouldn't recommend this book. While I did learn some things, I could have gotten more information in far less time from other sources. The narration combined with the style of writing does not make for an easy or enjoyable performance.

The title implies a unified story involving three issues: 1. secret service 2. Klan 3. Hiram C. Whitle. The book covers all three points, but not in a cohesive way. Chapters tend to deal with one issue or another, loosely tied together.

Had I not committed to finish all the books I start this year, I would have abandoned this a third of the way in.

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A decent read

Overall it was a good bio but it doesn’t focus as much in the KKK as the title suggests. It’s more a general purpose bio with some additional focus on those activities. The performance is one dimensional and made me feel like I was listening to an automated message the entire time. It made it difficult to stay focused at normal speed, but the cadence was so precise and unvarying i was able to listen to it sped up without missing much.

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Enlightening from a historical perspective

Politics haven't changed much in 150 years. We just can't quite get the fact that history repeats itself and we ought to learn from history.

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Swashbuckler

Like honest to goodness pirates for lack of a better word. A romping adventure story.