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Spies, Patriots, and TraitorsSpies, Patriots, and Traitors

American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War

Kenneth A. Daigler

Narrated by James McSorley

Available from Audible

Book published by Georgetown University Press

Students and enthusiasts of American history are familiar with the Revolutionary War spies Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold, but few studies have closely examined the wider intelligence efforts that enabled the colonies to gain their independence. Spies, Patriots, and Traitors provides readers with a fascinating, well-documented, and highly readable account of American intelligence activities during the era of the Revolutionary War, from 1765 to 1783, while describing the intelligence sources and methods used and how our Founding Fathers learned and practiced their intelligence role.

The author, a retired CIA officer, provides insights into these events from an intelligence professional's perspective, highlighting the tradecraft of intelligence collection, counterintelligence, and covert actions and relating how many of the principles of the era's intelligence practice are still relevant today. Daigler reveals the intelligence activities of famous personalities such as Samuel Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, John Jay, and Benedict Arnold, as well as many less well-known figures. He examines the important role of intelligence in key theaters of military operations, such as Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in General Nathanael Greene's campaign in South Carolina; the role of African Americans in the era's intelligence activities; undertakings of networks such as the Culper Ring; and intelligence efforts and paramilitary actions conducted abroad.

Spies, Patriots, and Traitors adds a new dimension to our understanding of the American Revolution. The book's scrutiny of the tradecraft and management of Revolutionary War intelligence activities will be of interest to students, scholars, intelligence professionals, and anyone who wants to learn more about this fascinating era of American history.

Kenneth A. Daigler is a retired career CIA operations officer. He has written articles about intelligence for the CIA Historical Division's journal Studies in Intelligence, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers' Intelligencer, and other publications.


“An interesting history and useful textbook. As a history, it is impressive in both scholarship and readability.”

National Intelligence Professionals

“Even those familiar with the broad outlines of his story will find professional insights beyond the knowledge of academic historians [.] perhaps the best you are going to find on the birth of American intelligence.”

The Washington Times

“A great read on the American Revolution, particularly if, like me, you are not well versed in its details, as well as its geographic and political sweep. And for those of us in CI, it serves as a source of object lessons in how to do things well, and what mistakes to avoid.”

—John McGonagle, Proactive Intelligence

“Ken Daigler's well documented and researched study demonstrates how integral the panoply of intelligence disciplines—obtaining secrets from spies, covert action, and counterintelligence—was to the conflict that won American independence. From his unique perspective as a professional intelligence officer, he provides new insights into well known stories of the Revolution and also sheds light on the role of intelligence in rarely treated events. The book is an essential read for anyone interested in the Revolutionary War and in the origins and development of intelligence in US history.”

—Michael Sulick, retired CIA intelligence operations officer, former director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, and author of Spying in America and American Spies

Spies, Patriots, and Traitors is the most comprehensive book yet on American intelligence activities in the War of Independence. Kenneth Daigler's fascinating work of synthesis and original research makes a valuable contribution to the study of the American Revolution.”

—Steven Siry, professor of history, Baldwin Wallace University

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks