My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Pinks is a book about the women that worked for Allan Pinkerton and his Pinkerton Detective Agency in the years before, during, and after the American Civil War. The author makes it very clear that in hiring these women, especially Kate Warne, Pinkerton was far ahead of his time. Kate Warne led the Pinkerton women – or “Pinks” – and was a master of disguise and espionage. Her actions, as well as those of the women in her network, saved thousands of lives in the war and paved the way for women in the police force (although that would not truly become commonplace for over 100 years later).
Kate Warne had gumption, initiative, and courage. She was resourceful, creative, and perhaps just the right amount of crazy. She fit right in with the Pinkerton Detective Agency, despite being the first woman on the payroll. Her disguises and acting abilities were masterful and crucial to Pinkerton cases involving everything form murder and robbery to espionage and conspiracy. Allan Pinkerton credits her efforts with saving thousands of lives during the Civil War, as well as solving many high-stakes cases. This book provides the harrowing detail of some of the most notorious cases of the Pinkerton ladies. Kate had her hand in all of them, although there were other women, some of whom paid for their efforts with their lives. This is an illuminating tale of one of the parts of history that deserves more of our attention and respect.
This book was very well written with only a couple of very minor grammatical errors. It has been very well edited for form and grammar. In that respect it is a joy to read.
This book is also very well researched, relying in large part on the personal recollections of Allan Pinkerton himself, among others. Each chapter is a unique story, and as such each chapter has it’s own bibliography. This can make the book feel a bit disjointed, but goes to show how thorough the author was in their research.
The biggest criticism I have for this book is the ending. It’s far too abrupt! The author seems to make an attempt at a summarization ending in the final story. It could, however, benefit from an epilogue of some sort. The ending feels rushed, as though the author wasn’t quite sure how to end so they just included the summarization with the final story. It was a quick read, but one might think a bit too quick.
This is a fascinating and quick read! It is well-written, thoroughly researched, and certainly worth your time. I recommend this book!