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Upon Secrecy    by Selene Castrovilla, Jeff Crosby & Shelley Ann Jackson order for
Upon Secrecy
by Selene Castrovilla
Order:  USA  Can
Calkins Creek Books, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

George Washington needs trustworthy, quick-acting spies if America is to rout the British from New York. He directs Major Benjamin Tallmadge to recruit a group of spies, later called the Culper Spy Ring. The Ring's pivotal member is Robert Townsend, a writer for a loyalist newspaper and a native New Yorker. Who could be more perfect?

Selene Castrovilla's Upon Secrecy, illustrated in rich detail by Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson, tells the story of the Culper Spy Ring, which conveyed messages relating British activities and plans between Townsend and Washington. With the help of fellow spies Austin Roe, Abraham Woodhull, and Caleb Brewster, Washington thwarted British plans for attacking the French, America's allies. The French fleet arrived safely, well before the British realized they were duped by false, planted information.

This engaging, well-written book addresses the emotions of the persons involved as well: George Washington's frustration, Townsend's guilty conscience at his involvement, and the trepidation of the other spies. One caution for teachers and parents: the book subtly implies Divine direction and promotes nationalism. Properly presented in context with the ideology of the period, however, this is unlikely to prove a problem.

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