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

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
105 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

Don't Date Rosa Santos
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's...
Darknessontheedgeoftown.jpg
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Chief Jim Hopper reveals long-awaited secrets to Eleven about...
My Ideal Boyfriend is a Croissant
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This honest, laugh-out-loud novel brimming with body positivity, bite-sized...
Air Awakens
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable...
Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in...
Girl Gone Ghost
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A gripping psychological thriller. Inspired by a serial killer...
Every Stolen Breath
 
4.0
 
5.0 (1)
The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the...
Cursed Beauty
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Aurora Rose Brynhild is out of time. ...
The C Word
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Addison: Secrets have a way of getting out....
Aphelion
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ky isn’t your typical seventeen-year-old girl. She's an alien hunter.Ky...
Announcing Trouble
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
I may know everything there is to know about baseball,...
Seneca Lake
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's 1944, and high school senior Meg Michaels has always...
Freshman Witch
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Of course, magic is real. Everybody knows that. ...
Sarai and The Around The World Fair
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Sarai outgrows her bike, she worries she'll never get...
Of Beast and Beauty
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
7 vengeful sisters 7 fairytale kingdoms 7 daughters...
The Pepper Party Picks The Perfect Pet (The Pepper Party, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet the Peppers. Funny runs in the family....

Latest Member Reviews

A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
 
4.5
"This is a enthralling telling of the brave Soviet airwomen who flew missions during World War II. They fought in..."
Seven at Sea
 
4.0
"SEVEN AT SEA is told in alternating point of views between Erik and Emily Orton. After watching sailboats drifting on..."
Dear Ally, How Do You Write A Book?
 
5.0
"DEAR ALLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE A BOOK is perfect for anyone interested in writing. It doesn't matter if you're..."
What is Poetry? The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems
 
4.0
"WHAT IS POETRY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO READING AND WRITING POEMS by Michael Rosen is a nonfiction, how-to book intended..."
Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis
 
5.0
"During WWII, there were dozens and dozens of departments and units doing things that 95% of the population still has..."
Captured: An American Prisoner of War in North Vietnam
 
5.0
"Jeremiah Denton was a naval aviator who was shot down and captured by the North Koreans in 1965, and was..."
Colorblind
 
4.5
"While Colorblind won’t be shattering barriers, it opens the conversation in racism from a standpoint not yet explored. Colorblind,..."
Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories
 
5.0
"The Parkland massacre took the lives of 17 students the day it happened and the very recent passings of two..."
Standing Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII
 
5.0
"Because of the enormous need for men to be at the front battle lines, or in one of the theaters..."
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
 
4.5
"While the author says in an end note that he excluded a lot of information, the average reader will be..."
A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
 
4.5
"A Thousand Sisters tells the story of Soviet Airwomen in great detail, drawing on the experiences of many women pilots,..."
Mend A Story of Divorce
 
3.0
"What worked: Explores one teen's experience of dealing with the divorce of her parents. For those going through a similar..."
Clink A Story of Cyberbullying
 
3.0
"This is a graphic novel adaptation of a real teen's experience of being bullied online. What worked: This is..."
Once A King (Clash of Kingdoms)
 
4.0
"\ Feedback If you’ve read my other reviews on the series thus far then you know how much I love..."
Poetry 101
 
4.0
"POETRY 101 by Susan Dalzell is a comprehensive introduction to poetry written in the English language. The book takes us..."
You/Poet: Learn the Art. Speak Your Truth. Share Your Voice.
 
5.0
"YOU/POET by Rayna Hutchison and Samuel Blake, the folks from HER HEART POETRY, is a tremendous gift to writers everywhere...."
Hey, Kiddo
 
5.0
"What worked: This is an amazing memoir told in graphic novel style of a teen that deals with family addiction...."
The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century
 
5.0
"World War I was a harrowing war, but is not covered as frequently as World War II. This is a..."
The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley
 
4.5
"What worked: This is a fascinating insight into the life of the author of Frankenstein. The beginning paragraph, when Mary..."
In Harm's Way: JFK, World War II, and the Heroic Rescue of PT 109
 
4.5
"While many young readers have heard of President John F. Kennedy, few know about anything other than his assassination. While..."