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Continental Consulting
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Shill’s Books
"At the Sign of the Ram"
A Division of Continental Consulting
195 Sterling Place Highland NY 12528-2021

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       We specialize in books about the Northern campaigns of the American War of Independence (Canada, Lake Champlain, New-York, New-Jersey, and Philadelphia). Other subject areas in our growing catalog include the British army, material culture, living history, and a new one on the French & Indian War.
       In addition, one of our newest lines features guide books for historians & travelers. A second line features books on spies, spy rings & spycraft. Both of these lines have become extremely popular and we expect them to grow in popularity. We are also carrying a small collection of Osprey Books. These books are an ideal reference resource for living historians, military history enthusiasts, model makers and wargamers. Since they cross over so many periods and subjects, we have decided to bundle them together.

  • Miscellaneous Offerings
  • The Early Revolution in the North
  • The NY-NJ Campaign of 1776
  • The Campaigns of 1777
  • 18th C British Military
  • Material Culture
  • The French & Indian War
  • The Non-Combatants
  • Living History
  • Guide Books for History & Travel
  • Spies, Spy Rings & Spycraft
  • Special Collection of Osprey Titles

  • [Stack]

    Spies, Spy Rings & Spycraft

    [Wash Spies]

    Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring,
    by Alexander Rose
           Based on remarkable new research, acclaimed historian Alexander Rose brings to life the true story of the spy ring that helped America win the Revolutionary War. For the first time, Rose takes us beyond the battlefront and deep into the shadowy underworld of double agents and triple crosses, covert operations and code breaking, and unmasks the courageous, flawed men who inhabited this wilderness of mirrors—including the spymaster at the heart of it all.
           In the summer of 1778, with the war poised to turn in his favor, General George Washington desperately needed to know where the British would strike next. To that end, he unleashed his secret weapon: an unlikely ring of spies in New York charged with discovering the enemy’s battle plans and military strategy.
           Washington’s small band included a young Quaker torn between political principle and family loyalty, a swashbuckling sailor addicted to the perils of espionage, a hard-drinking barkeep, a Yale-educated cavalryman and friend of the doomed Nathan Hale, and a peaceful, sickly farmer who begged Washington to let him retire but who always came through in the end. Personally guiding these imperfect everyday heroes was Washington himself. In an era when officers were gentlemen, and gentlemen didn’ t spy, he possessed an extraordinary talent for deception—and proved an adept spymaster.        The men he mentored were dubbed the Culper Ring. The British secret service tried to hunt them down, but they escaped by the closest of shaves thanks to their ciphers, dead drops, and invisible ink. Rose’s thrilling narrative tells the unknown story of the Revolution–the murderous intelligence war, gunrunning and kidnapping, defectors and executioners—that has never appeared in the history books. But Washington’s Spies is also a spirited, touching account of friendship and trust, fear and betrayal, amid the dark and silent world of the spy.

    Sold Out! 384 pages. Illustrated. Softcover. $17.00
    Shipped in New York State. $19.00

    The Late John A. Nagy's Books on Spies and Spycraft

    Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution,
    by John A. Nagy
           During the American Revolution, espionage was critical to the successes and failures of both Continental and British efforts, and those employed in cloakand- dagger operations always risked death. While the most notorious episode of spying during the war—the Benedict Arnold affair—was a failure, most intelligence operations succeeded. Spycraft was no more wholly embraced than by the American commander-in-chief, George Washington. Washington relied on a vast spy network and personally designed sophisticated battle plan deceptions and counterintelligence efforts, some surprisingly modern in form.
           Award-winning author John A. Nagy briefly traces the history of spy techniques from ancient China through Elizabethan England before embarking on the various techniques used by spies on both sides of the war to exchange secret information. These methods included dictionary codes, diplomatic ciphers, dead drops, and hidden compartments. Based on nearly two decades of primary research, including the author’s discovery of previously unrecognized spies and methods, Invisible Ink is a major contribution to the history of conflict and technology.

    Sale! 400 pages. 45 B&W Illustrations. Maps. Softcover. $15.00
    Shipped in New York State. $17.00


    Dr. Benjamin Church, Spy: A Case of Espionage on the Eve of the American Revolution,
    by John A. Nagy
           Dr. Benjamin Church, Jr. (1734–1778) was a respected medical man and civic leader in colonial Boston who was accused of being an agent for the British in the 1770s, providing compromising intelligence about the plans of the provincial leadership in Massachusetts as well as important information from the meetings of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. George Washington accused him of being a traitor to the colonial cause and had him arrested and tried. He was ultimately allowed to leave America on a British vessel in 1778, but it foundered in the Atlantic with all hands lost. The question of whether Dr. Benjamin Church was working for the British has never been conclusively demonstrated, and remains among the mysteries of the American Revolution.
           Noted authority John A. Nagy has scoured original documents to establish the best case against Church, identifying previously unacknowledged correspondence and reports as containing references to the doctor and his activities, and noting an incriminating letter in the possession of the Library of Congress that is a coded communication composed by Church to his British contact. This well-researched volume is an important contribution to American Revolution scholarship.

    224 pages. B&W Illustrated. Maps. Hardcover. $25.00
    Shipped in New York State. $27.00


    Spies in the Continental Capital: Espionage Across Pennsylvania During the American Revolution,
    by John A. Nagy
           The Culper Spy Ring in New York was not the only one in America. Philadelphia also played a key role in the history of spying during the American Revolution because it was the main location for the Continental Congress, was occupied by the British Command, and then returned to Continental control. Philadelphia became a center of spies for both the British and Americans—as well as double agents.
           Historian John A. Nagy has made an important contribution to Revolutionary War history with this work. Spies in the Continental Capital: Espionage Across Pennsylvania During the American Revolution demonstrates that intelligence operations on both sides emanating from Pennsylvania were vast, well-designed, and critical to understanding the course and outcome of the war.

    Sale! 256 pages. B&W Illustrated. Maps. Hardcover. $25.00
    Shipped in New York State. $27.00


    Rebellion in the Ranks: Mutinies of the American Revolution,
    by John A. Nagy
           Mutiny has always been a threat to the integrity of armies, particularly under trying circumstances, and since Concord and Lexington, mutiny had been the Continental Army's constant traveling companion. It was not because the soldiers lacked resolve to overturn British rule or had a lack of faith in their commanders. It was the scarcity of food—during winter months it was not uncommon for soldiers to subsist on a soup of melted snow, a few peas, and a scrap of fat—money, clothing, and proper shelter, that forced soldiers to desert or organize resistance. Mutiny was not a new concept for George Washington. During his service in the French and Indian War he had tried men under his command for the offense and he knew that disaffection and lack of morale in an army was a greater danger than an armed enemy.
           In Rebellion in the Ranks: Mutinies of the American Revolution, John A. Nagy provides one of the most original and valuable contributions to American Revolutionary War history in recent times. Mining previously ignored British and American primary source documents and reexamining other period writings, Nagy has corrected misconceptions about known events, such as the Pennsylvania Line Mutiny, while identifying for the first time previously unknown mutinies. Covering both the army and the navy, Nagy relates American officers' constant struggle to keep up the morale of their troops, while highlighting British efforts to exploit this potentially fatal flaw.

    Sale! 392 pages. B&W Illustrated. Hardcover. $25.00
    Shipped in New York State. $27.00



    Author JOHN A. NAGY was a scholar-in-residence at St. Francis University, Pennsylvania, and an expert on antique eighteenth-century documents and espionage. He served as a consultant for the William L. Clements Library of the University of Michigan. Mr. Nagy was also a founder of the American Revolution Roundtable of Philadelphia and he appeared on the History Channel.


    Christian McBurney's Books on Officer Abductions


    Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott,
    by Christian M. McBurney
           On the night of December 12, 1776, while on a reconnaissance mission in New Jersey, British dragoons learned from Loyalist informers that Maj.Gen. Charles Lee, the second-in-command in the Continental army, was staying at a tavern at nearby Basking Ridge. Gaining valuable information as they rode, by threatening captured American soldiers with death if Lee’s whereabouts was not revealed, they surrounded the tavern, and after a short but violent struggle, captured him. As a result, the British were confident the rebellion would soon be over.
           The Americans responded with their own special operation, perhaps the most outstanding one of the war. On the dark night of July 10, 1777, Lt.Col. William Barton led a handpicked party in whaleboats across Narragansett Bay—carefully avoiding British navy ships—to Newport, Rhode Island. Although the town was occupied by more than 3,000 enemy soldiers, they landed and stealthily hurried to a farmhouse where Gen. Richard Prescott had taken to spending nights. They forced open the doors and seized the sleeping Prescott!
           In Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott, Christian M. McBurney relates the full story of each of these remarkable raids, the subsequent exchange of the two generals, and the impact of these kidnappings on the Revolutionary War, as well as the subsequent careers of the major players. The author completes his narrative with descriptions of other attempts to kidnap high-ranking military officers and government officials during the war, including ones organized by and against George Washington. The low success rate of these operations makes the raids that captured Lee and Prescott even more impressive.

    320 pages. Illustrated. $30.00
    Shipped in New York State. $32.00


    Abductions in the American Revolution: Attempts to Kidnap George Washington, Benedict Arnold and Other Military and Civilian Leaders,
    by Christian M. McBurney
           The tactic of kidnapping enemy leaders, used in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dates to the American Revolution. George Washington called such efforts "honorable" and supported attempts to kidnap the British commander-in-chief (twice), Benedict Arnold (after he turned traitor) and a future king of Great Britain. Washington in turn was targeted at his Morristown winter headquarters by British dragoons who crossed the frozen Hudson River. New Jersey Governor William Livingston went to considerable lengths to avoid being abducted by the Loyalist raider James Moody.
           Sometimes these operations succeeded, as with the spectacular captures of Maj.Gen. Charles Lee, Maj.Gen. Richard Prescott and North Carolina Governor Thomas Burke. The abducted, such as Declaration of Independence signatory Richard Stockton and Delaware's Governor John McKinly, faced risks to their reputations. The kidnapper risked all--if caught, he could be hanged. This book covers attempted and successful abductions of military and civilian leaders from 1775 to 1783.

    232 pages. Illustrated. Softcover. List price $35.00. $28.00
    Shipped in New York State. $30.00


    Attorney CHRISTIAN McBURNEY is an independent historian, based in Washington, DC, whose work emphasizes the Revolutionary War and Rhode Island. He is also the chief publisher and editor of the Online Review of Rhode Island History, with more than twenty contributing authors. He lives in Kensington, Maryland. Besides those listed here, he has also authored The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation of the Revolutionary War.


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