Although most people think of spies as a Cold War phenomenon, they've actually been around for hundreds of years, and include in their ranks larger than life figures like big game hunters, revolutionary war heroes, and even exotic dancers.
While these real life spies might not have had cool gadgets or fast cars like James Bond, their lives still make for some pretty amazing stories, so sit back with a shaken-not-stirred martini and have a look at this list of the top ten masters of espionage throughout history.
10. Allan Pinkerton
Allan Pinkerton was a Scottish detective who pioneered many spying techniques that are still used today. He was one of the first detectives to shadow his subjects, and his undercover operations, what he called "assuming a role," helped shape modern espionage.
In 1850 he founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, a group of private detectives and policemen. The group was well known throughout the 1800s, and is best remembered for their involvement in the tracking and capture of several old west outlaws.
During the American Civil War, Pinkerton was the head of the Union Intelligence Service, and was a close advisor and confidant to Abraham Lincoln. He helped foil an assassination plot on Lincoln in 1861, planted agents inside the Confederate army, and even went undercover as a Confederate officer in order to report on troop movements.
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