Washington's Spies

The Story of America's First Spy Ring
Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: History, American
4 out of 5 stars (1,483 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Based on remarkable new research, acclaimed historian Alexander Rose brings to life the true story of the spy ring that helped America win the Revolutionary War. For the first time, Rose takes us beyond the battlefront and deep into the shadowy underworld of double agents and triple crosses, covert operations and code breaking, and unmasks the courageous, flawed men who inhabited this wilderness of mirrors—including the spymaster at the heart of it all.

In the summer of 1778, with the war poised to turn in his favor, General George Washington desperately needed to know where the British would strike next. To that end, he unleashed his secret weapon: an unlikely ring of spies in New York charged with discovering the enemy’s battle plans and military strategy. Washington’s small band included a young Quaker torn between political principle and family loyalty, a swashbuckling sailor addicted to the perils of espionage, a hard-drinking barkeep, a Yale-educated cavalryman and friend of the doomed Nathan Hale, and a peaceful, sickly farmer who begged Washington to let him retire but who always came through in the end. Personally guiding these imperfect everyday heroes was Washington himself. In an era when officers were gentlemen, and gentlemen didn’t spy, he possessed an extraordinary talent for deception—and proved an adept spymaster.

The men he mentored were dubbed the Culper Ring. The British secret service tried to hunt them down, but they escaped by the closest of shaves thanks to their ciphers, dead drops, and invisible ink. Rose’s thrilling narrative tells the unknown story of the Revolution–the murderous intelligence war, gunrunning and kidnapping, defectors and executioners—that has never appeared in the history books. But Washington's Spies is also a spirited, touching account of friendship and trust, fear and betrayal, amid the dark and silent world of the spy.

©2006 Alexander Rose (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Kinda boring

I love history and in particular military history. So when I saw this book in the sale list,
I gave it a try. I enjoyed the book in a historical context , but the author threw in too
many extraneous details. I found myself needing to rewind and re-listen because I got
bored and wasn't paying attention .

48 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Textbook

This is not a story, there is no story. This is a textbook. Just beware of this, before you buy it.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

zzzzzzzzzzzzz

This reads like a sears catalog with all the feeling of a Kenmore dryer. The author might have a 45 minute story in here somewhere but it is engulfed in a trivial pursuit's wet dream. The squirrels he chases might be factually correct but do we need troop, passenger, and cargo manifests read verbatim? This is a 3,000 word essay artificially packed to meet the required 100,000 word novel.
No thanks.
You could at least make reading the colonial phonebook interesting.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lots of unrelated issues info

I was disappointed at how much was actually about spying. It seemed to have a lot of content unrelated to the spy rings.

Also, the author used names even for minor characters which made it difficult for me to keep characters straight. Bonus points for school reading, minus points for pleasure reading.

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not good for casual listeners

Wasted my money on this. The narrator sounds like a computer without any emotions and the story is very difficult to understand. Listened half and stopping .

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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snore....

I was really looking forward to reading a book to make the revolution come alive. Sadly this book just made history painful. Too much time spent reciting facts and figures, everything but the point of the book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

PUNCTUATION: It's there for a reason

Later the author & book. First, the reader. Who taught this reader to read and why was he hired??? He has absolutely no idea how to use punctuation. Maybe he thinks it's optional. It is so difficult listening to this book because the reader seems to end a sentence, but then continues on to the actual end. This disrupts comprehension and is so irritating. Add to that, he completely lacks voice inflection (hello, Ben Stein). If I weren't so interested in the subject I would have quit in the first 10 minutes.
Now, the author, who is thoroughly researched to a fault. I listened for nearly an hour to the history of code writing. That could have been a footnote or end note. Yet, the story is so compelling that I keep listening.
Final note: If you're hoping to get the low down on the love affairs we watched in TURN, you may be disappointed. This is history....but still more interesting than high school.

13 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • NA
  • 07-09-19

Poorly Constructed

The narrative is dry and dull. The story behind the spies is more battle narrative than anything to do with the individuals. The book is a great idea with poor execution.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • BQ
  • 10-11-18

Could have been a lot better

The subject of the book is intriguing, but the execution lacked. The author did some great research but it was just hard to stay focused on that great research. It seemed that the author (or maybe the narrator) presented the information like he was speaking from the 1770s and 80s. The subject of the book and the people chronicled are from that time; the author is not. One example, the repeated use fo the antiquated word “thrice”(and he was not quoting others). Many other word uses such as that plus the delivery of the narrator make the performance just drip in pomposity.

The author also often lists payments made, costs etc. It would be helpful to relate those amounts to more current currency values. Otherwise, these amounts become fairly irrelevant to those of us who don’t have our Revolutionary currencies conversions handy.

I listened to the whole performance and I did get some interesting tidbits, but to be honest I was relieved when the book reached its conclusion. Prior to this, I listen to “1776,” which was read by the author, the great David McCullough, so maybe the bar was set a little too high for this offering.
Sorry to be harsh.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Painful to listen to

I now remember why I didn't like American history in high school. This author takes a story that should be interesting and turns it into an endless and mind-numbing stream of dates, names, and places. There are dictionaries that are livelier reading. The writing style is also off-putting. Rose seems incapable of creating a simple, declarative sentence. He strings together clauses and parenthetical phrases in such abundance that the sentence length becomes Faulkner like. I wanted to enjoy this book, but I couldn't finish it.

4 people found this helpful