This book covers the career of Allan Pinkerton, the so-called first private-eye of America. He starts off as a cooper, but unknowingly becomes a detective when helps the town sheriff capture some people making counterfeit money. Known for a new, uncorrupt way of apprehending criminals, he soon becomes famous in succeeding to bring many criminals to justice. However, he is soon called for his biggest job yet: to protect Abraham Lincoln from Southern, secessionist assassins. Short on time, he puts the top detectives in his agency, the first to include women, on the job. Their clever, but life-risking and nerve-wrecking, plan safely brings Lincoln to Washington D.C. for his inauguration. During the Civil War, Pinkerton’s Agency works for the federal government as spies to gather Southern intelligence and capture those aiding the South, such as “Rebel Rose” Greenhow. In addition, he opens up his home as a station on the Underground Railroad, aiding slaves running north to freedom. The second part of the book describes Pinkerton’s life after the war in arresting outlaws, such as the Reno Brothers Gang and the James-Younger Gang, who had been robbing from banks and trains. Again, Pinkerton is able to bring an end to them through his expertise in the field, though he had problems along the way, such as public lynching of the robbers before they had a free trial; however, this time, his sons, following in the dangerous road of their father, work alongside him. Unfortunately, Pinkerton’s health gets the better of him, but he still continue his work with great passion, this time from his desk. On July 1, 1884, he breathed his last, yet his legacy lives on even to this day; he had essentially created the art of detective work, which greatly influences the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading about detectives, suspense, nail-biting stories, historical fiction, lesser-known history, or the Civil war or mid-19th century time period. This is a very readable book, very simply written, yet very detailed and dramatic. The story is written as if it were fiction. The book include real photos of letters, posters, people and drawings from that time and more, all contributing to the true history aspect, while keeping the reading from boring. Frankly, these intermittent images and spacious printing provide a breathing points for the reader from falling asleep, but rather stay engaged in an exciting plot. Irrelevantly, this book also has an index to help one find something specific they want to read.
Paul rates this book 5/5 stars