Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis

Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
61   0
Write Review
Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis
Age Range
12+
Release Date
April 23, 2019
ISBN
978-0763681531
Buy This Book
      
In his third book about deception during war, Paul B. Janeczko focuses his lens on World War II and the operations carried out by the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troops, aka the Ghost Army. This remarkable unit included actors, camouflage experts, sound engineers, painters, and set designers who used their skills to secretly and systematically replace fighting units — fooling the Nazi army into believing what their eyes and ears told them, even though the sights and sounds of tanks and war machines and troops were entirely fabricated. Follow the Twenty-Third into Europe as they play a dangerous game of enticing the German army into making battlefield mistakes by using sonic deceptions, inflatable tanks, pyrotechnics, and camouflage in more than twenty operations. From the Normandy invasion to the crossing of the Rhine River, the men of the Ghost Army — several of whom went on to become famous artists and designers after the war — played an improbable role in the Allied victory.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Fascinating Look at WWII Espionage

During WWII, there were dozens and dozens of departments and units doing things that 95% of the population still has no clue about. Whether it was the art units or African-American women sorting mail, the Fly Girls, or the Candy Bombers, I am always amazed by the things I read about WWII that most of the history buffs I know aren't even aware of! Certainly, very few people know about the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troops, also known as the Ghost Army. Their job was to go in, with about 1,100 members, and impersonate troops of up to 50,000 soldiers or sailors. They were also instrumental in throwing off the enemy by making it look like there were tanks, encampments, and even troop transport ships when they were merely inflatable items and scores of dummies! Even better, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was instrumental in the idea! It was sort of like a covert USO, made up of artists, sound technicians, and other special effects experts. My favorite was when they staged a naval attack to try to siphon troops away from the area where an actual attack was planned-- they had the fake ships, threw up a smoke screen, played sound effects, and sent in a few bombs! And it actually worked. Tactics like this would probably not work today, but how intriguing that they did.

Good Points
This book followed the "secret soldiers" from their inception through the many different activities in which they were involved in a very orderly fashion, and there were lots of good pictures of people, equipment, and areas. There were so many fascinating details that I wanted to share with someone: did you know that Quonset huts were called Nissen huts in the UK? That the Beach Jumpers were named that because they wanted other words to fit the acronym for be-jesus? And... Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.! (Look him up on IMDB.com-- he was quite the dashing actor)

Here's the thing: I have zero interest in WWII. None. And yet, my students love to read about it, so I have acquired enough of a background knowledge that I could, say, hold up my end of the conversation if I were on a date with a WWII buff. This book was so well-researched; where would you even get pictures of the fake tanks? Surely, there was some kind of security that would have made this difficult to sneak back home after the war.

This is an essential addition to a middle school or high school library, and will probably be my nominee for the Cybils middle grade nonfiction award for 2019.

I knew of Paul Janeczko mainly from poetry anthologies in my library that have seen years of use; Blushing: Expressions of Love in Poems and Letters (2004), Preposterous: Poems of Youth (1991), Strings: A Gathering of Family Poems (1984), and Don't Forget to Fly (1981). Dark Game (2011) and Double Cross (2017) surprised and delighted me with their spy details, and showed me another side of this author. Sadly, he passed away 21 February, just as this new book showed up on my radar. According to his obituary in Publishers Weekly, there are two more manuscripts in the hands of his editor. I always thought fond thoughts about this author when I handed his books to students; I'm sorry I never got to tell him how much easier he made my job.

Secret Soldiers is a masterpiece; pick it up for your WWII fans as a fitting tribute to a great author.

Well done, Mr. Janeczko.
Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Tin
Tin
In an alternative England of the 1930s where the laws...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stolen Girl
Nadia is haunted by World War II. Her memories of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Iliad
More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
A Light Amongst Shadows
James Spencer is hardly the typical troubled youth who ends...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
the orphan fixed.jpg
Sometimes the ones who save us are the ones we...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Astrid the Unstoppable
Pippi Longstocking meets Heidi meets Anne Shirley in this tale...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dreamland
In his sleep, Louie starts visiting a magical world where...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Me, Shakespeare and the Anti-Love Club
Heartbroken and spurned Kassidy starts an Anti-Love Club in response...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2)
Sacrifice all you have to survive. ...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
NewBookCover.jpg
The Akakies, a peaceful, technologically advanced alien species known as...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
A new, revised edition of Edward Willett’s multi-award-winning young adult...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Love at First Fight
Band Geek vs Quarterback... One humiliating photo, a stupid...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ellie Quinn has spent most of her sixteen years behind...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
King Geek vs the Cheerleader Julia Farrow...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gamer vs Player Some girls have a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Long live Solaris. One bloodthirsty ruler has...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Astrid the Unstoppable
 
5.0
"Nine-year-old Astrid is the only child in her Norwegian village, and she's called the little thunderbolt by the adults living..."
Dr. Snow Has Got To Go
 
3.5
"Dr. Snow Has To Go is a loosely illustrated chapter book with humor that just might go over some young..."
Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship
 
4.0
"MANGOES, MISCHIEF, AND TALES OF FRIENDSHIP is based off of Indian folklore. It's broken up into two parts, but both..."
Secrets of a Fangirl
 
5.0
"Sarah Anne is the biggest fan of the MK Nightshade series, but it's taboo in the popular world of her..."
Jaclyn Hyde
 
5.0
"JACLYN HYDE is a fun middle grade retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jaclyn is..."
The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #2)
 
4.5
"Fans of the Wings of Fire Series won't want to miss the graphic novels. The colors are bright and the..."
Secrets of a Fangirl
 
4.0
"SECRETS OF A FANGIRL is a fun contemporary middle grade about embracing yourself for who you are and what you..."
Scream Site
 
4.0
"After reading Justina Ireland's YA, Dread Nation, which has a solid amount of scare, I was ecstatic to pick up..."
Willbee the Bumblebee
 
5.0
"The story has a beautiful rhythm to it as Willbee the Bumblebee flies around the lovely garden he calls home...."
A Wolf Called Wander
 
4.5
"Roseanne Parry’s book, A Wolf Called Wander is based on a real story about a wolf who became separated from..."
New Kid
 
4.5
"'New Kid' by Jerry Craft follows main character Jordan, a seventh grader who wants to go to an art school,..."
Dragons Eat Noodles on Tuesdays
 
4.0
"DRAGONS EAT NOODLES ON TUESDAY is a silly story about two monsters who are trying to tell a story. However,..."
Lizzy McTizzy and the Busy Dizzy Day
 
4.0
"Lizzy McTizzy is late for a party but she can't find her shoe. She looks everywhere both inside and outside..."
Hello Knights
 
5.0
"HELLO KNIGHTS is all about the life of a knight. There's armor, a king, a queen, knights marching here and..."
Future Astronaut (Future Baby)
 
5.0
"FUTURE ASTRONAUT is a completely charming and brightly colored book that compares astronauts to babies. For instance, astronauts eat from..."
Will Giraffe Laugh?
 
4.0
"When Giraffe wakes up, he feels grumpy and doesn't want to smile. His friends want to cheer him up so..."
Zen Happiness
 
5.0
"ZEN HAPPINESS features twelve different Zen sayings. The first one is "We are born again with each new day." ZEN..."
Baby Love
 
4.0
"BABY LOVE has been redone as a board book with a mirror. The characters are animals and it's about what..."
Animal Stories (BOB Books)
 
5.0
"The pacing and simplistic words in the set ANIMAL STORIES (BOB BOOKS) is just what the emerging reader needs. The..."
Mama Loves Her Silly Goose
 
5.0
"Sandra Magsamen is back with Nursery Rhymes this time. Her signature format and bright, simple colors are perfect for any..."