Turncoats, Traitors, And Heroes

Title:                      Turncoats, Traitors, And Heroes

Author:                 John Bakeless

Bakeless, John (1959, 1998). Turncoats, Traitors, And Heroes. New York, NY: Da Capo Press[1]

LCCN:    97031872

E279 .B3 1998

Date Updated:  October 19, 2016


Date Updated:  October 19, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Bakeless’ interest in the subject undoubtedly stemmed partly from his service in U.S. military intelligence. He produced in this book a history of espionage in the main theater of war in the American Revolution. Calling it a thorough study of espionage, counterespionage, and other military intelligence on both sides, he believed that a large proportion of the material he presented was new. This was the most complete work on the intelligence war in the North American theater at the time of publication, although the work of the British Northern Department is not discussed. But for the area of operations covered, it is one of the best works available; and it should be required reading for all U.S. officers as consumers or producers of intelligence for two reasons. First, it gives a vivid picture of General Washington’s interest in intelligence and deception and the value he placed on effective intelligence. Second, it will dispel any notion that Americans lack a talent for or a tradition of intelligence operations. Much operational tradecraft will be found here: secret writing, couriers and cutouts, letter drops, deceptive chickenfeed, and counterintelligence techniques (to name a few). Bakeless’ belief that the American agent Enoch Crosby was the model for James Fenimore Cooper’s Harvey Birch was not accepted by all students of the American Revolution. Nor was his research on the British agent John Howe complete, judging by later findings. Frank E. McKone in Volume 1 of General Sullivan: New Hampshire Patriot[2] identified Howe as one of the aliases of the British agent John Hall who served England faithfully in four wars and was a link in the defection of Benedict Arnold.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

An account of intelligence in the American Revolution considered to be the best book available on that period. Although somewhat fragmented and choppy, it is literally loaded with information on the intelligence-rich history of the Revolutionary War. George Washington emerges as an imaginative and successful intelligence officer.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

A nearly complete record of secret activities of both sides on the American continent during the Revolution. The author was an experienced military intelligence officer.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 70-71

[2] McKone, Frank E. (1977). General Sullivan: New Hampshire Patriot. New York: Vantage Press. LCCN: 77153943

[3] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature (7th ed Rev.). Washington, DD: Defense Intelligence School, p. 5

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 161


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3 Responses to Turncoats, Traitors, And Heroes

  1. Pingback: Spies in the Continental Capital | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Espionage and Counterespionage, Chapter 14 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Blackstock Selected Bibliography of Fifty Titles | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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