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George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
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George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  674 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Now in paperback—the award-winning National Geographic book that presents the untold story of the invisible war behind the American Revolution. A riveting tale of intrigue, spies, counterspies and secret agents, George Washington, Spymasteris a unique and entertaining account of one of the most important chapters in our nation's history. The compelling narrative reveals th ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by National Geographic Children's Books (first published 2004)
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Jan 14, 2014 Kelsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, childrens
My husband insisted on buying this book at the Mount Vernon bookshop even though it is intended for children. Well, I ended up reading it before he did and found it to be an easy, enjoyable read about spies during the Revolutionary War. This is exactly the kind of book that I enjoyed as a child (I LOVED the Dear America series). This book is full of interesting snippets of history that often get left out from more traditional history narratives. Who doesn't love a story about a woman throwing ba ...more
Steven Stickler
Jan 18, 2013 Steven Stickler rated it really liked it
George Washington was a SPY?!

One simple thought struck me about halfway through this book: this is not the Revolutionary War I learned about when I was a kid. Not even close. I vaguely remember learning about the many problems folks in America had with King George (so many, in fact, that they made a list). There were lessons about the desire for independence, about military strategy, muskets, and a guy riding around on a horse waking people up. Don’t even get me started on the military commander
Jan 25, 2014 Philip rated it liked it
For a man who "couldn't tell a lie," Washington was pretty deceptive.

Also, he didn't tolerate the deception of others very well, as there were a lot of hangings going on.

The book doesn't deal with Washington as much as it does the spies he handled. (I'm using handled there ambiguously - did you catch that? Handled as in "is in charge of" as well as in "dispatched." Not too shabby...)

It was nice reading this after reading The Notorious Benedict Arnold last year and The Inner Circle the year befor
Laura Verret
Oct 04, 2014 Laura Verret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-sale
Military secrets! Double agents! Undercover missions! Betrayal, intrigue – espionage.

If any of that up there sounded exciting to you, or if you happen to be a fan of the American War for Independence, then George Washington, Spymaster is the book for you!

Most books about the American Revolution focus on the philosophical causes for the war, or the politically charged atmosphere which surrounded its necessity. Some talk about the famous figures who spurred on that war, or the important battles th
Nov 11, 2007 Meagan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of American history
This book tells the story of the Revolutionary War from the angle of the spies who helped win it. The story of America's first spies lends the history a sense of adventure and an immediacy that's lacking in so many historical books for children, making this an excellent choice for kids who have trouble enjoying history. In addition, the book is well-researched and includes the web addresses where readers can find the original letters and journals online. Finally, readers can get involved with th ...more
Max R
Nov 17, 2014 Max R marked it as to-read
For my nonfiction book, I chose George Washington, Spymaster. A nonfiction book is a talks about a subject and everything in it is completely true, nothing is made up. George Washington, Spymaster is a nonfiction book about the American Revolution that tells a story of how George Washington outspied the British and won the Revolutionary War. It explains that he did this by setting up a huge spy network and knew exactly what was going to happen. This book covers almost every historic person or pl ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a cool book! I had no idea that spying was such an important part of the Revolutionary War. This little book is informative and interesting for anyone, say, 5th grade on up. The subtitle on the front sums up the whole book: “How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War”. The brilliant mastermind was our own Gen. George Washington. He was a remarkable man, a determined general, and absolutely instrumental in America’s independence.

Two great quotes: George Was
Scott Dunham
Nov 06, 2008 Scott Dunham rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young people interested in History
Recommended to Scott by: Local library chose it for a Book Study group
My 10 year old son and I read this together before bedtime, and we devoured it over 3 nights! I've studied the Revolutionary War just a bit, but never realized how much espionage and plain old fooling the British Army played a role in our becoming a Nation!

This book touched on Benedict Arnold, so now we've gone and checked out 3 more books on the man whose name has become synonymous with "TRAITOR"! My son wants to know what happened to Arnold. Sounds like it all could make a great movie someday
Denise Ortakales
This is a wonderfully designed little book–feels good in your hands, pages have deckled edges, uses a font reminiscent of the time, and the jacket is printed in letterpress. I can see where kids, especially boys, would get caught up in the whole spy thing; there are codes to decipher throughout the whole book. Kudos to National Geographic for making history fun!
Mar 21, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
George Washington, Spymaster was a fascinating account of an aspect of the Revolutionary War that we hardly ever hear about! We do hear of Nathan Hale, Benedict Arnold, Major Andre, but of the many other unsung heroes and villains of secrecy? Not so much, or not at all. In fact, the circles of spies and double agents--run by George Washington and/or several delegated friends barely managed to stay ahead of similar agents sent out by the British generals. But--they did stay ahead, and one British ...more
It's rather like a picture book version of Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring and would be better for younger people. However, the fact that it had codes hidden in the margins, and that it used a Colonial type gave it bonus points.
Sep 27, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I'm not a big fan of reading history but this book is so cool! It's a different take on the American Revolution by talking about how George Washington was a spy with many undercover agents working on both sides. I wish my American History textbooks were written this way.
May 10, 2015 Mel rated it liked it
Great spy information used during the Revolutionary War. Major George Beckwith, head of British Intelligence in America noted: "Washington did not really outfight the British, he simply outspied us!"
Which is a great compliment considering they couldn't understand how the ragtag farmers were able to fight the battle for so long. So not only did they hold their own in battle, they were outwitted.
George Washington wrote in 1776 "There is one evile I dread, and that is, their spies."
Spy codes includ
*Mitten Award Honor Book*
Not only does this book have great information on Washington's network of spies, it also gives sample codes and coded messages throughout. What a fun way to learn about codemaking, history, strategy and more!
Mary Ann
Jan 25, 2016 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing
George Washington, Spymaster: We think of George Washington as a planter, surveyor, general and president. Seldom do we think of him as a spymaster. Yet in the Revolutionary War, he recruited spies, taught them code and supervised their efforts. At times during the war, spies were as important as or almost as important as the armies. Washington needed both.
After the Revolution, major George Beckwith, the head of British intelligence, said, “Washington did not really outfight the British. He sim
Janet Macreery
Mar 30, 2014 Janet Macreery rated it really liked it
Walking through the National Portrait Gallery in DC, the huge portrait of George Washington greeted us as we entered the Presidential Portraits section. My eight-year-old nephew pointed excitedly at the painting and proudly announced that he knew who that man was. A spy!

Thomas B. Allen has done a wonderful job of taking a complex subject that was designed to be difficult to understand and making it accessible. Don't make the mistake of thinking George Washington, Spymaster is "just for kids." A
Crystal Demsky
I truly enjoyed this nonfiction work about the intricacies of the early American spy network. This book keeps the reader interested and is a great read whether you are an adult or young adult. I would highly recommend this book for upper elementary and middle school students who are reluctant to read as it has a secret code hidden throughout the book that you can try to solve using the instructions in the back of the book. It also includes directions for writing in code. It includes many little ...more
Lora Innes
Apr 07, 2009 Lora Innes rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-books
This little book is so much fun! A very quick read, but original and entertaining!
Samantha Ackley
George Washington, spy master; who the Americans out spied the British and won the Revolution War by Thomas B. Allen. This is an amazing non-fiction book/ bibliography about all the great things Washington did to help our country. This book took me about two months to read. It was full of history and things I never knew that Washington had accomplished or said during his lifetime. George Washington was an American Hero and Leader who lead our country.
I love how the author used such descriptiv
Mar 03, 2012 Christopher rated it really liked it
Many people know George Washington’s adventures as a General, and his presidential years are also well known. But did you know that Washington had one of the best spy rings in the world? And did you know that General Howe of the British said the thing he feared most about Washington was his spies? This book will open up the world of espionage during the Revolution, and and show you how George Washington was a great general, president, but also a great spymaster.

Comments: Let me say this about th
Aug 14, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok
I would not recommend this book for children. This book deals with a LOT of different people, and the author is not good at reminding the reader who these people are when they show up again. The main problem is that the scope of this book is just too big, making the content overwhelmingly detailed and specific. The language itself is appropriate for children between 10 and 12, but no child would ever read this book unless it was assigned because it is confusing, deals with too many people, and d ...more
While this book had a cool premise and lots of great resources I felt it was dry, too brief, and confusing as a result. I am all about the spy world and so learning about a founding father through that lens was neat.

The book is aimed at young readers and maybe if they were already studying the Revolutionary War this would make sense to them. However, I felt like there were so many names thrown at me with little sense of who they were or how they connected. It was a lot to keep track of and it ju
Feb 16, 2011 Elasha rated it liked it
Listened to this one with my kids on audiobook during a car trip . . . I would give it 3 1/2 stars if I could. It took a while before the story caught my full attention. That could be due to distraction however. Toward the late middle of the book I was hooked, interested in what Washington did next to win whatever battle . . . lots of spy stuff! The book paints George Washington as not only an army general, but an expert in intelligence operations -- which in the author's opinion is what won the ...more
Catherine Chauncey
Oct 10, 2012 Catherine Chauncey rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1-12
"George Washington, Spymaster" is a non-fiction book telling stories of the Revolutionary War and how George Washington organized spies to steal information from the British and win the war.

It is interesting to read, but is difficult to read recreationally. It fits every category for a young adult nonfiction book. It has a narrative format with strong attention to characters and setting, presumes no prior knowledge to the subject; hence, it provides adequate background information, and includes
Jun 04, 2015 Hannah rated it liked it
This book showed a different perspective on the Revolutionary War. When we sit through a history class, we don't think about our forefathers being spies in order to win the war. After reading this book, things make a lot more sense.

Also, I found it interesting that Benedict Arnold was a war hero and a trusted general to Washington until his great demise as a traitor. We also don't hear about that in the history books either.
Mr. Kovach
Sep 29, 2011 Mr. Kovach rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting because I like to read books about George Washington.
It talked about how he wasn't just a general, but a master of spies. He sent spies
all over the country to help him win the American Revolution. His spies stole
secrets from the British, so he knew where they would be before he had to
fight them. This was very important because the British actually had a
stronger and better-trained army than we did, so he needed a tactical advantage.
He also used his spies to fool the
Shaun Welch
Apr 20, 2016 Shaun Welch rated it really liked it
A pretty quick read that overs a good overview of the intelligence and counterintelligence operations of the Revolutionary War. This is suitable for middle schoolers and honestly even as an adult I found it engaging. In the back there is a lot of cool cipher material that was actually used by Washington, Tallmadge, and the Culper spy ring.
Thomas B. Allen's survey of spying during the Revolutionary War is thorough and concise, providing interesting information for younger teens interested in the subject. However, the editing and grammar in some places left something to be desired. Basic things were ignored, like avoiding the usage of 'and' as the first word in a sentence. While that doesn't usually matter much in children's books, at this age, it would be better to provide teens something more grammatically correct.

I'd recommend
Jo Sorrell
Aug 27, 2012 Jo Sorrell rated it it was amazing
Battle of the Books 2013. I don't feel most middle schoolers will enjoy this book unless they are really into history. It was enlightning for me about George Washington being so much more than our first president and his dental issues. He was a master spy and that according to this account is what won the war;the spy ane espionage aspect. After I read the book, I happened to be at The Henry Ford Museum and got to see some of the artifacts mentioned in the book. That was a WOW moment for me.
In th
Aug 09, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Pretty cool little history book about Washington and his use of deception and spies which helped the Patriots win the war against the British. It offers a good overview of who the main players were on both sides and to what lengths they went to outspy each other. Enjoyable and educational.
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Thomas B. Allen's writings range from articles for National Geographic Magazine to books on espionage and military history.
He is the father of Roger MacBride Allen.
More about Thomas B. Allen...

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