Finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults! From clothesline codes to surveillance satellites and cyber espionage, Paul B. Janeczko uncovers two centuries’ worth of true spy stories in U.S. history. (Ages 12 and up)
Ever since George Washington used them to help topple the British, spies and their networks have helped and hurt America at key moments in history. In this fascinating collection, Paul B. Janeczko probes such stories as that of Elizabeth Van Lew, an aristocrat whose hatred of slavery drove her to be one of the most successful spies in the Civil War; the "Choctaw code talkers," Native Americans who were instrumental in sending secret messages during World War I; the staggering engineering behind a Cold War tunnel into East Berlin to tap Soviet phones (only to be compromised by a Soviet mole); and many more famous and less-known examples. Colorful personalities, daring missions, the feats of the loyal, and the damage of traitors are interspersed with a look at the technological advances that continue to change the rules of gathering intelligence. Back matter includes source notes, a bibliography, and an index.
Janeczko manages to stay true to history while still keeping a lively tone. —School Library Journal
A wealth of information in an engaging package that should find an enthusiastic audience, particularly among middle schoolers. —Kirkus Reviews
With well-chosen subjects (including many women and African Americans who used their marginalized positions to gather information) and contagious enthusiasm for the spy world’s ‘tantalizing mysteries,’ this makes a strong choice for both avid and reluctant readers alike. —Booklist
Provides solid details along with fascinating snippets in an easy-to-follow text in which he tells stories about his subjects and the way they were trained…provides background details and places the role of spying more particularly within the context of American history and politics. —VOYA
Will appeal to anyone who is interested in spies and espionage throughout the history of our country —Library Media Connection
Janeczko’s lively writing portrays history with all of the drama and flair of a top-notch spy novel. —SLJ Teen