Monday, July 3, 2017

The Pinks by Chris Enss

book cover
The Pinks
by Chris Enss


ISBN-13: 9781493008339
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Two Dot Books
Released: July 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Most students of the Old West and American law enforcement history know the story of the notorious and ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency and the legends behind their role in establishing the Secret Service and tangling with Old West Outlaws.

But the story of Kate Warne, an operative of the Pinkerton Agency and the first woman detective in America, and the stories of other women who served their country are not as well known. From Kate Warne’s part in saving the life of Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to the lives and careers of the other women who spied during the Civil War, these true stories add another dimension to our understanding of American history. Their stories are richly illustrated throughout with numerous historical photographs.


My Review:
The Pinks is a collection of true crime and spy stories and some biographies. The author talked about several of Kate Warne's cases and about various other women who worked as spies during the Civil War. We're told a little about Pinkerton, his detective agency, and how he hired Kate Warne in 1861. We get details about a couple cases that Kate helped solve (before and after the war). These cases were interesting, especially as the Pinkerton team was hired more to gain confessions than gather clues.

But most of the chapters talked about spying just before and during the Civil War. Kate Warne, Hettie Lawton, Vinne Ream, Elizabeth Baker, Mary Touvestre, Elizabeth Van Lew, and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker were all involved in spying for the Union during the war. I don't think that they all worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, though.

Some of the chapters described details about what the woman did and discovered, but some missions were covered only in general terms. The chapter on Dr. Walker focused more on her ambitions and what happened after the war than on what she did as a spy. One chapter was more about submarines and the battles involving the Merrimack and the Monitor than about the women who passed on information about the submarines.

I'd expected more details about Kate Warne's life or a focus on the detective cases involving the first female Pinkerton operatives. Though the book focused more on spying and gave only a brief look at these women, it was interesting to learn some of the things these women did.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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