0

Your Cart is Empty

The Spy: A Tale Of The Neutral Ground

By James Fenimore Cooper

A year after his imitative first novel Precaution (1820) enjoyed only modest success, James Fenimore Cooper penned The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground, a Revolutionary War narrative initiating the American historical romance, a novel and a genre that quickly put to rest the British critic Sydney Smith’s 1820 quip, “In the four corners of the globe, who reads an American novel?” Beginning with The Spy, everyone did. The novel excited readers with the perilous adventures of the spy (Harvey Birch, the Yankee peddler) and his contact Mr. Harper (George Washington appearing incognito), both surfacing repeatedly in various disguises and engaged in counterespionage (very clearly a parallel to the John Andre and Benedict Arnold stories) with their guerilla nemeses, the loyalist Cow-Boys and renegade Skinners. The Spy revealed the clash of loyalties within families between public and private duty to country and to self, and served as a microcosm of the new American world, staged in the “neutral ground” between opposing forces in Westchester, New York.

  • First Edition
  • First Printing, 1821
  • Very Good Condition