Guest author to speak about American spying

GVL / Courtesy - GVNow

GVL / Courtesy – GVNow

Duane Emery

Donald Markle, former U.S. intelligence officer and author, will be speaking tonight on the history of U.S. military intelligence. In particular, Markle will be addressing intelligence activities during the American Revolutionary War and the topics covered in his latest book, “The Fox and the Hound: The Birth of American Spying.”

The Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University is sponsoring the event from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

“I hope to invigorate minds to look more into the Revolutionary War,” Markle said.

He hopes that when the lecture is over, listeners go away eager to learn more about the war.

“Lots of people know about the Civil War, but the Revolutionary War is forgotten,” Markle said. “I’m trying to bring it back into focus.”

Markle said the Revolutionary War was important because it was one of the most innovative times in U.S. intelligence.

“Washington was very much ahead of his time, but there were a bunch of smart guys that knew what they were doing,” he said. “We didn’t get back to their level of intelligence gathering until World War II.”

Markle’s lecture will follow his book, which emphasizes the people involved in the war, and goes beyond George Washington. He will highlight what happened at certain geographic areas, as well as the first submarine used in the war, code breaking and how intelligence expanded during the war.

“When the British first came over, they didn’t expect much. They weren’t careful, so we were able to get a lot very easily. That changed as the war progressed,” he said.

Markle said intelligence can win wars, and he is fascinated by how intelligence gathering evolved during the war as the two sides learned each other’s tactics.

According to the event coordinator, Victoria Vandragt, 300 people have signed up for the sold out event, which will also include a book signing by Markle after the lecture. Those interested still have a chance to catch Markle on Sept. 16 for a follow-up discussion that will, “broaden the scope of the book and relate it to national security today,” Vandragt said.

The discussion will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cook-Dewitt Center.

“Tuesday is open to anyone. We hope to see more students so we can expose them to this great speaker. That event has plenty of space,” Vandragt said.

Markle was in intelligence for 34 years, serving three years in the army. He spent much of his career working overseas. He is the author of five books, including two about the Civil War and “Intelligence Was My Line” about the military career of Ralph Hauenstein during World War II.

Of intelligence work, Markle said it is, “90 percent boring and 10 percent panic, you never know what you are going to walk into. Everyone always asks why we didn’t know this or that, you are never going to know everything. It’s only later when it all comes out that you realize what (intelligence) did.”

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