Local writer and filmmaker Bonansinga follows up his non-fiction debut on the sinking of the Eastland with another study of local history. Pinkerton’s War details the Chicago connection with the Civil War. It tells the riveting spy story of Allan Pinkerton, a Scotsman who settled in Dundee and opened the state’s first private detective agency in Chicago in 1852. Through his work with Abraham Lincoln and George McClellan for the Illinois Central Railroad, McClellan developed political connections that would draw him to Washington. Charged with foiling a plot to assassinate Lincoln on his way to Washington, Pinkerton earns the respect of the capitor’s authorities and soon proposes the establishment of a secret intelligence service (the forerunner of our modern Secret Service.) By managing military intelligence, Pinkerton becomes a key player in the war effort. The book relies heavily on Pinkerton’s own prolific writings to tell the story and quotes extensively from other historians. Despite these interruptions in the narrative, the book draws the reader into its web of espionage and makes the reader marvel at Pinkerton’s devotion to the Union Cause.
To check out Bonansinga’s book on the Eastland, click here.