Freedom's Detective
Freedom’s Detective reveals the untold story of the Reconstruction-era United States Secret Service and their battle against the Ku Klux Klan, through the career of its controversial chief, Hiram C. WhitleIn the years following the Civil War, a new battle began. Newly freed African American men had gained their voting rights and would soon have a chance to transform Southern politics. Former Confederates and other white supremacists mobilized to stop them. Thus, the KKK was born.After the first political assassination carried out by the Klan, Washington power brokers looked for help in breaking the growing movement. They found it in Hiram C. Whitley. He became head of the Secret Service, which had previously focused on catching counterfeiters and was at the time the government’s only intelligence organization. Whitley and his agents led the covert war against the nascent KKK and were the first to use undercover work in mass crime—what we now call terrorism—investigations.Like many spymasters before and since, Whitley also had a dark side. His penchant for skulduggery and dirty tricks ultimately led to his involvement in a conspiracy that would bring an end to his career and transform the Secret Service.Populated by intriguing historical characters—from President Grant to brave Southerners, both black and white, who stood up to the Klan—and told in a brisk narrative style, Freedom’s Detective reveals the story of this complex hero and his central role in a long-lost chapter of American history.

Freedom's Detective Details

TitleFreedom's Detective
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 9th, 2019
PublisherHanover Square Press
ISBN-139781335006851
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Crime, True Crime, North American Hi..., American History, Mystery, Politics

Freedom's Detective Review

  • Witchy
    January 1, 1970
    Freedom's Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Man Who Masterminded America's First War on TerrorRamblings: Freedom’s Detective grants us passage on a sobering journey through American history as we witness the advent of the Ku Klux Klan, George W. Ashburn’s murder, and the daring struggle of a detective willing to uncover and expose those responsible. Lane’s easy narrative places this nonfiction on top of the must-have list for history majors, espionage lovers, and anyone w Freedom's Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Man Who Masterminded America's First War on TerrorRamblings: Freedom’s Detective grants us passage on a sobering journey through American history as we witness the advent of the Ku Klux Klan, George W. Ashburn’s murder, and the daring struggle of a detective willing to uncover and expose those responsible. Lane’s easy narrative places this nonfiction on top of the must-have list for history majors, espionage lovers, and anyone who ponders whether man is truly all good or all bad-all the time.Reviewer Summary:As head of the Secret Service under Grant’s administration, Hiram Coombs Whitley suppressed the operations of illegal distillers, exposed KKK klansmen, and reduced counterfeiting-all during a tense political and racial climate.However, Whitley could flip on a dime. He could ambush an abolitionist with escaped slaves, but later-assemble a case for prosecutors in Ashburn’s death. He blurred the line between right and wrong. Ultimately, a shady mission and bad judgment would abruptly end his federal career.Additional Info:This nonfiction contains a biography and notes in the back section of the book. It does not contain footnotes throughout.Review:Lane’s newest release titled Freedom’s Detective: The Secret Service, The Ku Klux Klan and The Man Who Masterminded America’s First War on Terror is a well-researched, captivating read of the ins and outs of the Secret Service and the man at its helm during Reconstruction. The author’s narrative writing style made for an easy-to-follow read, and the photos of key characters were a nice touch. You’ll like this novel if you:#1 Generally read nonfiction#2 Enjoy American history (with emphasis on the Reconstruction era)#3 Are fond of espionage#4 Like biographies#5 Wish to learn the origins of the Secret Service and/or the KKKDisclosure:I received a complimentary ARC of Freedom’s Detective from Harlequin Books via goodreads. I’m thankful to the publisher, author, and goodreads for the opportunity to review this soon-to-be April release. My review is an honest reflection of my thoughts and ramblings.
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  • Dawn Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    "Freedom’s Detective: The Secret Service, The Ku Klux Klan and The Man Who Masterminded America’s First War on Terror" takes us on a sobering journey through American history to witness the advent of the world of counterfeiting, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, George W. Ashburn’s murder [and the politicians that helped both try and cover it up and then bribed and bought off people to help the murderer’s go free], and the daring struggle of a detective [and the forming of the secret service] willin "Freedom’s Detective: The Secret Service, The Ku Klux Klan and The Man Who Masterminded America’s First War on Terror" takes us on a sobering journey through American history to witness the advent of the world of counterfeiting, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, George W. Ashburn’s murder [and the politicians that helped both try and cover it up and then bribed and bought off people to help the murderer’s go free], and the daring struggle of a detective [and the forming of the secret service] willing to uncover and expose those responsible, at whatever cost. This is a well-researched, captivating read of the ins and outs of the Secret Service and of Hiram C. Whitley at its helm during Reconstruction. The author’s writing style made for an easy read, easy to understand and follow and the illustrations and pictures that are included are a nice bonus – I find it easier to “see” the person being talked about when I can see how they actually looked. Whitley is a cunning man in his own right – ready to fight for the US and against the evils of the Ku Klux Klan, but was also willing to fight against the very thing he was trying to vanquish when it met his own personal needs [before the war, he went and rounded up wayward slaves to return them to their owners]. He never, ever took the blame for anything that happened negatively – either denying it vehemently, or tried to push it off on other people – sometimes both. Sometimes with success, and others, not so much. He was, in my opinion, the perfect man to be a spy and to lead espionage against the evils of the Klan, against counterfeiting and against evil in general. He had a spy’s mind and a willingness to bend the rules to get what needed to be done, done. They say if you want to catch crooks and bad men, you have to be a little bit of a crook [or in this case a spy and con-man] yourself. Be prepared though – many people I had previously held in high esteem [President Grant for one – his willingness to release and pardon men convicted of murder in hopes the South would be willing to accept Reconstruction more willingly, shows just how weak and ultimately, stupid he was in regards to just how powerful the Klan and white supremacy was], slipped several notches in the reading of this book. I realize that most of Washington is tainted, but there are moments in this book that caused real frustration and potential headbangingagainstwall moments. There were actual moments where I wondered just who really wanted the war to end and who really won when the Civil War did end. And even though blacks were considered free, there were many that still considered them to be “non-human” and many of them were based in Washington and had fought for the North. It was, at times, disconcerting and disheartening to say the least. And the lengths that the politicians, on BOTH sides, were willing to go through to get “what they wanted at any cost” was appalling and frustrating to read. If you know little about this time period, this book is an excellent introduction to the evils that came out of the ending of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction. It shows how powerful the South still was [though bankrupt and poverty stricken otherwise] and how strong the racial divide was [and still is today] in the Southern states. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this time period and in spies and espionage and the beginnings of the Secret Service and the fight against the Klan. Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin/Hanover Square Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Craig Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    This is a history book that is pretending to read like a novel. The subject of the book is Hiram C. Whitley, a man of few morals who takes on the Ku Klux Klan. The elements of general history are interesting but it is hard to get interested in anything related to Whitley. He does not rise to the level of a hero of the Secret Service and the writing is too dry keep the readers attention.
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  • Krisette Spangler
    January 1, 1970
    The rise of counterfeiters and the Ku Klux Klan posed a different kind of challenge than the United States had ever faced. It necessitated the rise of a national police force that would be able to cross state lines and report directly to the National government. Hiram C. Whitley was the first man to run a secret service for the U.S. government. This book covers his experiences as head of the Secret Service during the Reconstruction Era.It was sad to me to learn that not much has changed over the The rise of counterfeiters and the Ku Klux Klan posed a different kind of challenge than the United States had ever faced. It necessitated the rise of a national police force that would be able to cross state lines and report directly to the National government. Hiram C. Whitley was the first man to run a secret service for the U.S. government. This book covers his experiences as head of the Secret Service during the Reconstruction Era.It was sad to me to learn that not much has changed over the years. Careers were ultimately ruined by involvement in corrupt government scandals just as they are today.
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  • Morris J.
    January 1, 1970
    This is a must read for anyone trying to understand race relations in our nation today. Mr. Lane provides a riveting account of an early law man (ironically, often on the wrong side of the law), who was one of the few who could break the Klan’s code of silence. His and other efforts were not enough to turn the political tide, but this story helped me understand the dynamics of reconstruction in a way I never had before. Brilliant read!
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  • Brandt
    January 1, 1970
    In The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War by Andrew Delbanco, I posited what that actually purpose of writing a history should be. I believe that great historical works should be a reflection of the times that we live in and basically should be the embodiment of the old adage "those who don't learn from the past are bound to repeat it."So how does Charles Lane's Freedom's Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan, In The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War by Andrew Delbanco, I posited what that actually purpose of writing a history should be. I believe that great historical works should be a reflection of the times that we live in and basically should be the embodiment of the old adage "those who don't learn from the past are bound to repeat it."So how does Charles Lane's Freedom's Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Man Who Masterminded America's First War on Terror work if we accept my conceit of how a history should work? From the title it seems like Lane wants to show us a mirror into our times--invoking the term "War on Terror" creates specific connotations, but whereas the current "War on Terror" invokes a vision of foreign, brown-skinned non-Christian invaders, for good (or mostly) for ill. However, the terror the focus of this book, Hiram C. Whitley, fights is domestic terrorism that we can draw a straight line from the first Grand Wizard of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest, to the Timothy McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs of the United States. Because of this Lane's book is a bit of a misfire--instead of focusing on the legacy of the Klan, he instead focuses on Whitley's complicated and shady past and focuses on the violation of civil liberties that having a "secret service" (read: police) may entail. Even if Lane didn't feel the need to connect the Klan's actions to someone like McVeigh, he could have also linked Whitley's "innovations" to the modern surveillance state enabled by corresponding technological advances (Whitley was one of the first people to utilize photography in his investigations--everything old is new again) but Lane misses an opportunity here, instead focusing on Whitley's shady past and the equally shady event that resulted in his dismissal. This is mildly interesting, but honestly, I think the prevailing view of America's surveillance institutions and the people that run them is that those people live in morally murky lands to begin with. Identifying Whitley as one of these people really doesn't do anything except prove that these kinds of people existed in the 19th century. This is not a new revelation, as Christopher Marlowe would prove.If you do not agree with my view of why a history should be written in the first place, you may enjoy this book more than I did. The story is interesting and Whitley is definitely a bundle of walking contradictions. However, I'm pretty sure we all know someone like Whitley, and the fact is that it is the human condition to be great and shitty simultaneously. In that respect, Whitley isn't really different from anyone else who has existed on this planet.
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  • Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone interested in American history, particularly in the mid-nineteenth century and beyond, will find this well-researched and well-written book has much to teach us. Charles Lane tells the story of Hiram Coombs Whitley, the first head of the Secret Service, and a man not afraid to take on the burgeoning Ku Klux Klan. Whitley also went after counterfeiters and illegal distillers.One of the most interesting aspects of the book is Whitley’s own character; like most of us he was a mixture of good Anyone interested in American history, particularly in the mid-nineteenth century and beyond, will find this well-researched and well-written book has much to teach us. Charles Lane tells the story of Hiram Coombs Whitley, the first head of the Secret Service, and a man not afraid to take on the burgeoning Ku Klux Klan. Whitley also went after counterfeiters and illegal distillers.One of the most interesting aspects of the book is Whitley’s own character; like most of us he was a mixture of good and bad, although due to his position his characteristics were thrown into relief. In the end, his federal career came to a halt due to his own bad judgment.I really enjoyed this book. I had never thought much about the Secret Service other than that they protect the president and other people, and I was interested to learn so much about what they did during this period just after the Civil War. This thought-provoking book is worth reading, and if you have any interest in the period at all I urge you to pick it up.
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  • Jim Cullison
    January 1, 1970
    A rather odd book that promises one story, then frequently wanders off with other tangential narratives that are far less interesting, not to mention unsolicited. There are intriguing questions left dismayingly unexplored by this disappointing book: is the rigorous enforcement of civil rights fundamentally at odds with the nation's commitment to civil liberties? Is American law enforcement irreparably damaged by an inability to emulate its European counterparts? These questions are raised, but n A rather odd book that promises one story, then frequently wanders off with other tangential narratives that are far less interesting, not to mention unsolicited. There are intriguing questions left dismayingly unexplored by this disappointing book: is the rigorous enforcement of civil rights fundamentally at odds with the nation's commitment to civil liberties? Is American law enforcement irreparably damaged by an inability to emulate its European counterparts? These questions are raised, but never fully addressed by a book that ambles off into discursive alleys and anecdotes that frustrate and enervate the reader. Skip it.
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  • Harlequin Books
    January 1, 1970
    CategoriesCivil War Period (1850-1877) US History, Civil Rights, Discrimination & Race Relations, Political Biographies & Autobiographies
  • Nichole Winsor
    January 1, 1970
    I won an ARC through Goodreads giveaways. Let me start by saying that this isn't the genre of books that I typically read, I entered to win a copy thinking that it would be more focused on crime than a historical type of read. That being said, this book was very well written and easily held my interest throughout.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    A very clearly written biography of Hiram Whitely and the Reconstruction time period. I went in knowing very little about him, and was educated and enthralled throughout the entire book.
  • Ray
    January 1, 1970
    Charles Lane's book, Freedom's Detective tells the story of one of the earliest members of the United States Secret Service, Hiram C. Whitley. He also gives the reader a glimpse of life during Reconstruction in the South and the troubles faced by President Grant during these times. What's important about the emphasis on Hiram C. Whitley is what he was able to accomplish enforcing the law during this period after the Civil War. The Southern States were in turmoil, having just been defeated in a l Charles Lane's book, Freedom's Detective tells the story of one of the earliest members of the United States Secret Service, Hiram C. Whitley. He also gives the reader a glimpse of life during Reconstruction in the South and the troubles faced by President Grant during these times. What's important about the emphasis on Hiram C. Whitley is what he was able to accomplish enforcing the law during ​this period after the Civil War. The Southern States were in turmoil, having just been defeated in a long and bitter war, and the way of life in the South being upended by the abolition of slavery. Former slaves were now freed, and acceptance of that upheaval was hardly forthcoming. There was no shortage of animosity in the South directed against Federal troops, abolitionists, and recently freed slaves. Rebuilding their lives in the former Confederate States was challenging, and the passing of counterfeit bills had become commonplace, in the North as well as the South. Subsequently, in 1865, the Secret Service Division in the Department of the Treasury was formed to fight counterfeiting and illegal distillers, and Whitley and his men were quite effective in making arrests of counterfeiters and bootleggers. When murders of blacks and Republican politicians in the South increased in frequency, and terror by the Ku Klux Klan became widespread, Whitley and his men investigated, infiltrated, and prosecuted those crimes as well. The entire concept of a Federal police force was new at the time, and Whitley and his men had to create a new way of investigating and prosecuting these crimes. That was probably the most interesting part of the book. Being able to go "underground", infiltrate the secretive KKK, and obtain convictions was obviously difficult, and Whitley was creative and effective in his role. His methods were somewhat controversial for the time, and the fact that Whitley was able to overcome his somewhat spotty background and be elevated to the Director of the Secret Service was an unexpected accomplishment.
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  • Sandra Reyes
    January 1, 1970
    A huge ⭐T H A N K Y O U to @hanoversquarepress #Partner for my ARC. Freedom’s Detective was just released on April 9, 2019! This was a riveting account of the Secret Service and how they came to be. They started as enforcers of the law, investigating and arresting counterfeiters. They later branched out and were heavily involved in the arrests of many Ku Klux Klan members who were terrorizing the nation in the 1800’s. This gripping account of the Secret Service and it’s questionable members, gav A huge ⭐️T H A N K Y O U to @hanoversquarepress #Partner for my ARC. Freedom’s Detective was just released on April 9, 2019! This was a riveting account of the Secret Service and how they came to be. They started as enforcers of the law, investigating and arresting counterfeiters. They later branched out and were heavily involved in the arrests of many Ku Klux Klan members who were terrorizing the nation in the 1800’s. This gripping account of the Secret Service and it’s questionable members, gave a historical view into its dealings before officially becoming a form of security operations in charge of protecting some of the nations highest leaders. Interestingly enough, they were one of the first organizations in the U.S. to use photography to identify perpetrators and the Chief of the Secret Service was the first to exercise the use of badges as identification for all its members.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    A look at the early history of the Secret Service, which was initially developed to stop counterfeiters as the county moved to a national currency after the Civil War, and then moved into stopping the KKK, as the only truly national crime fighting force. The man chosen to run the Secret Service during Reconstruction was Hiram C. Whitley, who tried to balance covert work with making sure the public was made aware of Southern treachery and the KKK while attempting to navigate through the political A look at the early history of the Secret Service, which was initially developed to stop counterfeiters as the county moved to a national currency after the Civil War, and then moved into stopping the KKK, as the only truly national crime fighting force. The man chosen to run the Secret Service during Reconstruction was Hiram C. Whitley, who tried to balance covert work with making sure the public was made aware of Southern treachery and the KKK while attempting to navigate through the political battles as the Democrats worked to shut down the Service's work against the Southern terrorists. Whitley brought himself down with his involvement in attempted political dirty tricks and the role of the Secret Service changed in the wake of this and other Washington scandals. I received a free ARC of this book through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaways.
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  • Jacob Collier
    January 1, 1970
    This is a life changing book that I have read after a long time. You can buy this and many other bestsellers at great discounts from here: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks...
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    While some historical non-fiction is super dry and boring this book actually is written and read really well and is very exciting. It's an interesting look at the beginning of the secret service and it's scarily close to how politics in 2018-2019 are still functioning with corruption, scandals, and racism.
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  • Ernest Spoon
    January 1, 1970
    Quite an interesting book about one of the lesser known figures of US history. Of course most of what Hiram Whitley accomplished in the fight against the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction was assigned to the trash heap of history by the victorious white supremacist Democratic Party in the years after Rutherford B. Hayes (s)election to the presidency in early 1877.
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  • Noelle Walsh
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this book knowing barely anything about America's Reconstruction period. I came out better educated than what I was. For anyone interested in history and the Reconstruction period of post-Civil War America, this book is a good place to start.*won as a GoodReads Giveaway*
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  • Mary Tarro
    January 1, 1970
    Although I love historical non-fiction, I could not enjoy this very dry story with events and main characters as abhorrent as the evils of the era and crimes they battled.
  • J.J.
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting but a bit dry.
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