The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy (Paperback)

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy By Alexander Rose Cover Image

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy (Paperback)


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From the New York Times bestselling author of Washington’s Spies, the thrilling story of the Confederate spy who came to Britain to turn the tide of the Civil War—and the Union agent resolved to stop him.

“Entertaining and deeply researched…with a rich cast of spies, crooks, bent businessmen and drunken sailors…Rose relates the tale with gusto.” -The New York Times

In 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, two secret agents—one a Confederate, the other his Union rival—were dispatched to neutral Britain, each entrusted with a vital mission.

The South’s James Bulloch, charming and devious, was to acquire a cutting-edge clandestine fleet intended to break President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate ports, sink Northern merchant vessels, and drown the U.S. Navy’s mightiest ships at sea. The profits from gunrunning and smuggling cotton—Dixie’s notorious “white gold”—would finance the scheme. Opposing him was Thomas Dudley, a resolute Quaker lawyer and abolitionist. He was determined to stop Bulloch by any means necessary in a spy-versus-spy game of move and countermove, gambit and sacrifice, intrigue and betrayal. If Dudley failed, Britain would ally with the South and imperil a Northern victory. The battleground was the Dickensian port of Liverpool, whose dockyards built more ships each year than the rest of the world combined, whose warehouses stored more cotton than anywhere else on earth, and whose merchant princes, said one observer, were “addicted to Southern proclivities, foreign slave trade, and domestic bribery.”

From master of historical espionage Alexander Rose, The Lion and the Fox is the astonishing, untold tale of two implacable foes and their twilight struggle for the highest stakes. 

Alexander Rose is the author of Washington’s Spies (the basis for the AMC drama series, Turn), Empires of the Sky, Men of War, and several other nonfiction books. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He writes the Spionage newsletter at Substack.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063277892
ISBN-10: 0063277891
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: November 21st, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English

“The complex Confederate conspiracy to fabricate a navy in secret, and the equally energetic Union efforts to stymie it, form the backdrop for Alexander Rose’s entertaining and deeply researched account of the espionage battle that took place among the Liverpool docks, with a rich cast of spies, crooks, bent businessmen and drunken sailors…Rose relates the tale with gusto.”  — New York Times

“With the contest of wits and bribes between Confederate special agent James Bulloch and American consul Thomas Dudley, Alex­ander Rose has proven that true history is indeed stranger than fiction. This account of Confederate machinations in Liverpool to get Rebel warships built in British shipyards is peopled by a color­ful array of special agents, detectives, spies, dockyard toughs, and a Southern mole in the British Foreign Office.”
James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861–1865  

“Intrigue lovers and Civil War buffs are in for a treat! The Lion and the Fox guides its readers through the shadow war between Confederate and Union agents in England—one trying to procure ships for the Rebel Navy, the other determined to thwart his rival. It is a little-known corner of history but one that is a pleasure to explore in this author’s skilled hands.” — Nicholas Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935–1961

“Historian Rose delivers an entertaining chronicle of the battle of wits between a Confederate spy and a Union agent in England during the early years of the Civil War. . . . Rose’s indelible character sketches and firm grasp of the industrial and political milieu of 19th-century Britain enrich the contest of wills between Bulloch and Dudley. This spy-versus-spy tale delights.” — Publishers Weekly

“A very interesting and informative story that follows the machination, maneuverings, and politics that influenced what went on behind the scenes…For those wishing to be engaged and even better informed on this Civil War maritime give-and-take, look no further than this well-written and researched volume.” — New York Journal of Books

“Historian Rose (Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring) masterfully delivers an exciting tale of plots and schemes among the shipyards, docks, and government offices of Liverpool and London.” — Library Journal