Pinkerton's War

The Civil War's Greatest Spy And The Birth Of The U.S. Secret Service

Book Description

A thrilling historical account of Allan Pinkerton’s pivotal role in the Civil War and the birth of the Secret Service


Scottish immigrant 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 this book, was his work as protector of President Abraham Lincoln and head of a network of Union spies (including himself!) who posed as Confederate soldiers and sympathizers in a deadly cat-and-mouse game.

 As here told in riveting prose by author Jay Bonansinga, Pinkerton’s politics and abolitionist sympathies drew the attention of supporters of presidential incumbent Abraham Lincoln—and Pinkerton was hired to act as his bodyguard. Pinkerton was asked to organize the U.S. government’s first “Secret Service,” and during the Civil War he managed a network of spies who worked behind confederate lines and tackled espionage at the highest levels in Washington. By war’s end, the agency’s 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.


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.

About Bonansinga, Jay

Jay Bonansinga is the author of the 2004 nonfiction title The Sinking of the Eastland, which was a Chicago Reader “Critics Choice Book” as well as the recipient of a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. He is also the author of the novels Perfect Victim (2008), Shattered (2007), Twisted (2006), and Frozen (2005), which have been translated into nine different languages. His debut novel The Black Mariah was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award, and his numerous short tales and articles have been published in such magazines as The Writer, Amazing Stories, Grue, Flesh & Blood, Outre, and Cemetery Dance, as well as a number of anthologies. Jay is also an indie filmmaker whose music videos have been in heavy rotation on The Nashville Network and Public Television. His short film City of Men was awarded the prestigious silver plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2008, his feature-film debut, Stash (based on his short story of the same title), won the Gold Remi at the Houston International Film Festival and Best Comedy at the Iowa City and Queens International film festivals. Jay has also worked as a screenwriter with horror legend George Romero, Will Smith's production company Overbrook Entertainment, and Dennis Haysbert (The Unit). The holder of a master's degree in film from Columbia College Chicago, Jay currently resides in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife and two sons. He is also a visiting professor at Northwestern University in their Creative Writing for the Media program, as well as the Graduate Writing Program at DePaul University.