Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Douglas Waller

Douglas Waller's new book is Lincoln's Spies: Their Secret War to Save a Nation.

From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Why did you decide to focus on four Civil War spies—Allan Pinkerton, Lafayette Baker, George Sharpe, and Elizabeth Van Lew--in your new book?

A: I’m not a Civil War historian. I was a correspondent for Newsweek and Time, and I covered the CIA. My last two books were on the head of OSS [the Office of Strategic Services] in World War II, Wild Bill Donovan, Franklin Roosevelt’s spymaster; and on four CIA directors who worked for OSS. For the next book, I decided to switch wars. I’m glad I did; it’s a fascinating subject.

I picked four [spies]. One was a failure. One was a scoundrel. Two were very successful spies.

Allan Pinkerton was a famous detective, but was a failure as a military intelligence officer.

Lafayette Baker was an absolute scoundrel. He was like Lincoln’s J. Edgar Hoover; the difference was that Baker didn’t have much interaction with Lincoln, and Baker was far more corrupt.

George Sharpe is one of the heroes, a George Smiley type. He was highly educated and spoke several foreign languages. He headed up intelligence for General Hooker. He pioneered all-source intelligence, and would produce reports.

Elizabeth Van Lew was the...[read on]
Visit Douglas Waller's website.

My Book, The Movie: Disciples.

The Page 99 Test: Disciples.

--Marshal Zeringue