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

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
279 0
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

Fascinating Look at WWII Espionage
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

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

Meanwhile
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Celebrate 10 years of this completely original graphic novel take...
Grant Beagan: The Finder's Code
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s just an ordinary teenager who likes astronomy, video games,...
Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Children will love exploring the different textures in this playful...
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On the night before Christmas, all over the house, not...
Belinda Fellgate: HellCat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A contemporary teen fantasy about an inept 14-year-old girl who...
Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling author...
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. ...
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other....
Sword of the Seven Sins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised...
Things That Should Stay Buried
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must...
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy...

Latest Member Reviews

Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
"FUN IN THE JUNGLE is an adorable board book great for infants and young toddlers who are exploring the world..."
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
"THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS modifies the original poem to be more modern and easily understood by young children. The classic..."
The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit (The Magic Misfits, #4)
 
5.0
"THE FOURTH SUIT is a fantastically magical finale. Ridley begins with a inventor's fair which she is entering with the..."
Duck and Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers
 
4.0
"DUCK AND PENGUIN DO NOT LIKE SLEEPOVERS is an overall cute book about two stuffed animals whose owners are BFFs..."
Fussy Flamingo
 
4.5
"FUSSY FLAMINGO is an adorable fictional tale about a flamingo named Lola that doesn't want to eat shrimp. Instead, her..."
Give It! (Moneybunny Books)
 
4.0
"GIVE IT! introduces the simple concept of charity as well as being thoughtful about money purchases. Chummy and his Gran..."
Little Snowflake
 
5.0
"LITTLE SNOWFLAKE is a delightful story that explains the water cycle through the eyes of a small snowflake. Tiny drops..."
Room on the Broom Push-Pull-Slide
 
5.0
"ROOM ON THE BROOM PUSH-PULL-SLIDE is a delightfully interactive board book sure to enchant toddlers and preschoolers. A witch is..."
Stanley's Fire Engine
 
5.0
"STANLEY'S FIRE ENGINE is an adorable picture book that follows a day in the life of Stanley the Firefighter. Stanley..."
Shelly Struggles to Shine (The Derby Daredevils, #2)
 
4.5
"SHELLY STRUGGLES TO SHINE is a great middle grade read that follows the struggle of individuality and feeling like you..."
Thanks a Ton! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
5.0
"THANKS A TON! is filled to the brim with bright colors, rhymes, animals, and gratitude. While an elephant has a..."
Wild Week
 
4.0
"WILD WEEK is a cute board book that features an animal on each day of the week, doing something in..."
Peppermint Post
 
5.0
"PEPPERMINT POST is an adorable new story about Christmas and Santa. The Peppermint Post is the busiest post office in..."
Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed, #2)
 
4.0
"STOLEN FROM THE STUDIO is a fun middle grade mystery with a choose-your-own-adventure plot. Carlos travels with his mother, a..."
The Wizenard Series: Season One
 
4.0
"THE WIZENARD SERIES: SEASON ONE is written by Wesley King and created by Kobe Bryant. The MG fantasy follows Reggie,..."
The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
 
4.0
"THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF PIPPA NORTH combines magic and humor in a middle grade fantasy full of charm. Pippa is..."
TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
"TURBO RACERS: ESCAPE VELOCITY is a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure. Mace Blazer is a TURBOnaut, a high-speed vehicle racer. He recently..."
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
"BREAD LAB! is a cute picture book that walks through the steps of making sourdough bread through the eyes of..."
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
"A THOUSAND NO'S is a cute picture book about the way that feedback can change an idea. A girl has..."
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
"RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH is a comedic middle grade fantasy that features a young boy on..."