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George Washington's Secret Spy War


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About the Author

JOHN A. NAGY was a Scholar-in-Residence at Saint Francis University and a consultant on espionage to The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and the William L. Clement Library. He was the program director for the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia and was awarded a Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies fellowship to study Thomas Jefferson and cryptology. John was an award-winning author of four books on the American Revolution. He passed away in 2016 after completing this book.


"One intriguing, little-known facet of the first general of the Continental Army: his wholehearted embrace of the art of deception against the British. A cryptology specialist of the Colonial period, Nagy, who died this year, found that the Founding Father famed for his inability to tell a lie actually embarked on wartime espionage 'with childlike glee.' . . . A knowledgeable study of Washington's extensive 'bag of tricks' to secure victory." --Kirkus Reviews

"Nagy's fast-paced chronicle reveals a little-known side of America's Revolutionary War hero." --Publishers Weekly

"John A. Nagy, fellow historian and revolutionary War scholar extraordinaire!" --David McCullough, New York Times bestselling author of The Wright Brothers

"John A. Nagy knows more about American Revolutionary War espionage than anyone in history." --Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author

"John A. Nagy, the premier historian of espionage in the Revolution, has written his masterpiece. Readers will be dazzled by the revelations, which range from the siege of Boston, where spies operated as fishermen with a permit from a British admiral as cover, to Yorktown's "Deception Battle Plan." Best of all we learn how and where young Washington learned the art and science of the deadly game. A must for everyone's library." --Thomas Fleming, author of The Great Divide: The Conflict Between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation

"Based on deep archival research and an unrivalled knowledge of spy networks in the American Revolution, John Nagy has uncovered a neglected dimension of the leadership of George Washington as a master of deception and the creator of a highly effective espionage system against the British. Nagy makes the case that he did not have as many spies as his opponents but that his success was due to his abilities to select and interpret evidence. This is an important work both for specialists and lay readers." --Andrew O'Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America, and Professor of History, University of Virginia

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