Review: George Washington's Secret Six

I had been meaning to read this one for awhile, but there is nothing like necessity for pulling a book up from the middle of your TBR list. I needed to do a little research on spying techniques during the Revolution for my latest work.

George Washington's Secret Six is one of the "new style" history books that
Amazon link
crosses over from non-fiction into fiction. Not that the historical points are fiction, but that sometimes-unknowable dialogue, thoughts and actions are added. As you can tell from the review, I have mixed feelings about that. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Here's the review I posted on Amazon and GoodReads this morning:

George Washington's Secret Six is an engaging, easy read that tells the story of a little-known spy ring that was arguably essential to the American victory in the war for independence. If you would rather read about historical people and personalities than battle plans and troop movements, this is the book for you.

My only argument with the book is whether one could truly consider it non-fiction or whether it is more fictionalized fiction. There are references with descriptions given at the back of the book (although not footnoted within the text itself), and Kilmeade talks of meeting with the CIA' chief historian. All of which leads me to give the benefit of the doubt to the story-like telling of the narrative.

However, the amateur historian in me pauses a bit when dialogue and internal thoughts are given as factual. I remember one particular passage where during a meeting between Townsend and Woodhull the latter scratched at a bit of wax on a table and the former banged his fist on the same table making the candles jump. It's a passage as well written as any in a historical novel, but does it belong in non-fiction? I suppose those actions and the dialogue could have been constructed from memoirs of the individuals involved, but given their desire for secrecy, it's not likely that they would have included this level of detail.

I do not mean to sound overly critical. I would recommend this book to anyone and if it makes the reading of history more enjoyable, so much the better. If we just left it up to the dry tomes we were required to read in school, these brave men (and one woman) would be lost to us. Therefore, I am giving this one four stars.

On a side note: As a writer of historical fiction, I want to give a shout out to Tiffany Yecke Brooks who, given the acknowledgments, I suspect had a hand in the more fanciful parts of the story. You did indeed find a sweet spot, and I enjoyed them immensely. I hate to admit it, but I think Major Andre was my favorite character.

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