George Washington’s Secret Six

January 9, 2014

Since I’d just finished this book the day before, and since we were talking about something else that made me think of it, I told our 5 1/2 year old grandson a few things about it.  “Yeah,” I said, “Benedict Arnold wasn’t a nice man; he was kind of mean, and he owed our country a lot of money*, then he had to figure out how to pay it.”  (We were playing with some pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, so it just came up).  “He made a lot of bad choices and decided the only way to pay was to ask the British commander, General Clinton, if he needed a spy.  Adrian was all ears.  He knew about the kids’ book, I Spy, and often uses that particular phrase in conversation, but this took “spy” to a whooole new level.  During this telling, his mommy got home, but he barely heard her (and he loves it when she gets home), but he just hardly noticed, since we were at a good part:  Benedict Arnold, in all of his badness, on the one side, was too much to pull away from.  And on the other side, to tantalize further, were our spies, the true Patriots: our unsung, unnoticed, unknown American heroes, who had provided so much valuable information to George Washington, while living in constant danger.  Since we’d been in the middle of playing store, I told him about Robert Townsend, the quiet storekeeper who learned lots of good stuff from the British officers who frequented his store.  Gosh, we had really only begun to scrape the surface of the story when Emily returned home.  But it was probably enough for one day.   I recommend the book, a true story, since I could hardly put it down.  Besides, you might have an interested little one in your family who’d be all ears, too.

* Arnold owed over 1,000 pounds to the Colonial government for undocumented expenses during the unsuccessful raid of Quebec in 1775.

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