The League: The True Story of Average Americans on the Hunt for WWI Spies

The League: The True Story of Average Americans on the Hunt for WWI Spies

by Bill Mills

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Two weeks before the U.S. entered World War I, a Chicago advertising executive visited the Department of Justice with a proposal - organize the country’s businessmen into a secret force of volunteer agents to ferret out and investigate enemy activities within the United States. The country, overcome by a wave of patriotic fervor, had also become gripped with fear and uncertainty of the influx of immigrants from the very countries with which the country was now at war.

The idea received quick approval and caught on like wildfire. Soon thousands of volunteers in every major industry, trade and profession were on the alert nationwide, maintaining surveillance and investigating cases for the Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation. They would grow to become 250,000 strong.

Written as a real-life adventure story, The League reveals how the organization began, the manner in which it operated, and the varied missions that it performed on behalf of the U.S. government. It is an extraordinary chapter in American history, when almost any citizen could receive official credentials as a volunteer investigator. From a running gun battle on the streets of Philadelphia, to the seizure of a disguised German commerce raider on the high seas, to the hunt for the radical bomber that attacked the Federal Building in Chicago, The League is a fascinating true story that will not soon be forgotten.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626363304
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 05/01/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,081,715
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Bill Mills is perhaps the country’s leading expert on the American Protective League. Mills holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and has a fascination for forgotten episodes from America’s past. He discovered the existence of the league in 2008, and after realizing it was a woefully under told story, spent the next three years researching the topic and collecting original documents, photographs and artifacts that would rival any public holding. Mills lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with his wife Michelle and daughter Darcy.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 "It Takes a Spy to Catch a Spy" 7

Chapter 2 Organizing the American Protective League 17

Chapter 3 Battling German Spies and Saboteurs 41

Chapter 4 At War with the Wobblies 61

Chapter 5 Mounting the Slacker Raids 79

Chapter 6 Operatives and Methods 101

Chapter 7 In Government Service 129

Chapter 8 Disloyalty is Now a Crime! 153

Chapter 9 The American Protective League is Disbanded 177

Epilogue 193

A Brief Postscript on the Events and Individuals Described in this Narrative 197

Sources 203

Index 225

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