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Delusion: The True Story of Victorian Superspy Henri Le Caron [Hardcover]

Peter Edwards


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Book Description

April 28 2008

?I have a Son who is 1st Lieut. and Adjutant in the Army of the U.S. of America station at Nashville Tennessee from where I am continually receiving communications on general events some of which connected with Fenianism ?. Feniansim is a Fact, and requires thorough and energetic action to at once extinguish it ?. My son is acquainted with the Fenianan Head Centre of the City of Nashville and he positively informed him that Blood will be shed before a Month. There are Fenians Hat Coats Songs and Plays with a prominency of Green and almost everything ? calculated to excite and enflame these ungrateful fanatical bloodthirsty Fenians. If I can be of service in obtaining information? I shall be happy to do so.? ?letter from Henri Le Caron?s father, John Beach, to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

And with that letter, John Beach offered his son?s services as a spy to the British government of 1866. While the Dominion of Canada may not have yet been a nation, it remained a target for Irish rebels living in the United States seeking Ireland?s liberation from British occupation. Using many aliases, Henri Le Caron turned from restless adventurer to cloak-and-dagger operative risking everything?his career, his family, and his life?for Queen and country.

In Delusion: The True Story of Victorian Superspy Henri Le Caron, journalist Peter Edwards reveals the early history of Canadian, British, and American intelligence gathering. Weaving the story of intrigue with Le Caron?s further exploits as a grave robber, Edwards shows that what is called ?freedom fighting? by some and ?terrorism? by others is as old as the hills. Individuals and motivations clash in this story of nationhood at the crossroads.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Key Porter Books; 1st Edition edition (April 28 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552639673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552639672
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 14.8 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #720,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author


PETER EDWARDS is a reporter for the Toronto Star and author of a number of books including: One Dead Indian: The Premier, The Police and the Ipperwash Crisis; A Mother’s Story: The Fight to Save My Son David with Joyce Milgaard; and The Canadian Encyclopedia of Organized Crime (with Michel Auger). He lives with his wife and family in Toronto, Ontario.

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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mythical James Bond July 29 2010
By General Phil Sheridan - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Le Caron was pumped up by the British to make him seem like James Bond. His autobiography which the author relies on is full of lies. Le Ccaron said he enlisted in the 2nd Pa. Reserves in August, 1861. Guess what? The 2nd Pa. Reserves were a western Pennsylvania regiment based in Pittsburgh (where I live). There is no sign of Le Caron on the 2nd Pa's rolls? Funny huh? Le Caron then says he joined the Anderson Cavalry. He appears on the rolls as a bugler, but only when the original regiment went back to Philadelphia in 1862 seeking new recruits. There was internal troubles in the regiment and Le Caron is listed as a mutineer. He claims to have been wounded and spent a month in hospital. There is no notation on his service record which is incredible because if a Union soldier were wounded, there was a notation for a future pension claim. He did receieve a commission in a colored regiment and probably became friendly with John O'Neill who would be a key figure in the Canadian expedition. His death certificate lists him as a major in the U.S. Army. Actually he never rose above adjutant (1st Lt.). Why all the deception. They wanted to break Le Caron's cover and bring him back to Merry Olde
to testify against Parnell, at Parnell's trial.
Buy a good science fiction book instead.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This spy DID come in from the cold - Good review of forgotten point in American-Irish history Jan. 24 2009
By S. J. Snyder - Published on Amazon.com
Long before Eireann (less the six northeastern counties) got their freedom from Britain, Irish nationalists were fighting for home rule - some peacefully and some not.

Among the more crazy schemes of the less peaceful was for Irish nationalists in the U.S. to cross the northern border and seize/overthrow Canada. Some versions of this scheming, shortly after the end of the Civil War, called for attacking the Canadian government in conjunction with Louis Riel's metis out on the Canadian prairies.

Edwards' story begins there, with protagonist Henri Le Caron, born in Colchester, England as Thomas Beach, and a recently discharged U.S. Civil War vet. Disturbed by what he's heard from Irish nationalists amongst his Army compadres, Beach (having assumed "Le Caron" to enlist) volunteers his services as a spy to the British crown.

And, starts on a 25-year odyssey of incredible undercover work, until voluntarily coming in from the cold to testify in a British commission of inquiry involving Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell.

It's a great history, and one of which I was totally unaware. That said, the narrative power is a bit iffy, and, I would have liked to have seen more connection of Irish nationalism in the U.S. to American politics, including but not limited to presidential campaigns, vote pandering, etc.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thoroughly researched book. Jan. 12 2011
By Braidwood - Published on Amazon.com
This was a very thoroughly reaseached book with numerous footnotes for those who want to delve further into the spy career of Henri Le Caron.
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