Synopses & Reviews
February 22, 1861. Midnight. Allan Pinkerton stands guard on the outer rail of a secret train conveying President Abraham Lincoln to Washington. The trip is a nail-biting affair, fraught with moments of great and harrowing suspense.
The train made excellent time traversing the upper corner of Delaware and was about to cross the Maryland state line. Within minutes it would be approaching the muddy, black snake of the Susquehanna River and the treacherous territory of rebel spies and Southern sympathizers.
Alone on the cabooses parapet, Pinkerton squinted around the corner, against the wind, to see across the dark wetlands.
As the miles clocked by, the pinpricks of firelight in the far distance, dotting a small river town, came into view: Perryman, Maryland—that wasp nest of secessionism—the place where Timothy Webster, Pinkertons right-hand man, had first learned of the diabolical schemes being formulated in Baltimore. . . .
The jerk of the air brakes signaled an imminent stop. Pinkerton braced himself.
To cross the river, the locomotive would be forced to pull onto a ferryboat — one of the first extremely dangerous and tenuous stages of the journey. Pinkerton craned his thick neck to see around the rear edge of the sleeper. In the distant night, only blackness stared back at the burly detective.
The village of Havre de Grace—now visible on the far side of the Susquehanna—was Timothy Websters checkpoint. Somewhere along the shadowy banks of the waterway, Websters lantern would be the all-clear, easing Pinkertons mind and pointing the way into Baltimore.
But no signal came: only the ominous fabric of darkness along the south bank.
A heart-pounding historical account of Allan Pinkertons role in the Civil War—protector of Abraham Lincoln and mastermind of a controversial network of Union spies.
Allan Pinkerton is best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which gained renown for solving train robberies in the 1850s and battling the labor movement in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. But the central drama of his career, and the focus of Pinkertons War
, was his work as protector of President Abraham Lincoln and as head of a network of Union spies (including himself!) who posed as Confederate soldiers and sympathizers in a deadly cat-and-mouse game.
As told in riveting prose by author Jay Bonansinga, Pinkertons politics and abolitionist sympathies drew the attention of supporters of presidential incumbent Abraham Lincoln—and Pinkerton was hired to act as his bodyguard. While head of the United States first Secret Service, Pinkerton managed a network of Civil War spies who worked behind Confederate lines and tackled espionage at the highest levels in Washington. They included sharpshooters from Chicago, rangers from the Mexican War, undercover detectives from New York, British dandies, and seductive and shrewd women under the guidance of Kate Warne. By wars end, the agencys reputation was so well established that it was often hired by the government to perform many of the same duties today assigned to the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA, and, most recently, the Department of Homeland Security.
Pinkertons War is thrilling history and the story of two great American firsts: presidential protection and an organized United States spy network.
About the Author
Jay Bonansinga is the national bestselling author of The Sinking of the Eastland, a Chicago Reader Critics Choice Book, and eleven novels. Bonansigna is also the author of the novelization of the huge hit television series The Walking Dead, a book titled The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. His novel, Perfect Victim, was a Book of the Month Club Alternate. He is also an award-winning indie filmmaker.