Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America

Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America

4.0 6
by Howard Blum
     
 

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Combining the pulsating drive of Showtime's Homeland with the fascinating historical detail of such of narrative nonfiction bestsellers as Double Cross and In the Garden of Beasts, Dark Invasion is Howard Blum’s gritty, high-energy true-life tale of German espionage and terror on American soil during World War I, and the NYPD

Overview

Combining the pulsating drive of Showtime's Homeland with the fascinating historical detail of such of narrative nonfiction bestsellers as Double Cross and In the Garden of Beasts, Dark Invasion is Howard Blum’s gritty, high-energy true-life tale of German espionage and terror on American soil during World War I, and the NYPD Inspector who helped uncover the plot—the basis for the film to be produced by and starring Bradley Cooper.

When a “neutral” United States becomes a trading partner for the Allies early in World War I, the Germans implement a secret plan to strike back. A team of saboteurs—including an expert on germ warfare, a Harvard professor, and a brilliant, debonair spymaster—devise a series of “mysterious accidents” using explosives and biological weapons, to bring down vital targets such as ships, factories, livestock, and even captains of industry like J. P. Morgan.

New York Police Inspector Tom Tunney, head of the department’s Bomb Squad, is assigned the difficult mission of stopping them. Assembling a team of loyal operatives, the cunning Irish cop hunts for the conspirators among a population of more than eight million Germans. But the deeper he finds himself in this labyrinth of deception, the more Tunney realizes that the enemy’s plan is far more complex and more dangerous than he suspected.

Full of drama and intensity, illustrated with eight pages of black and-white photos, Dark Invasion is riveting war thriller that chillingly echoes our own time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/18/2013
Vanity Fair contributing editor Blum tells the story of a sabotage campaign that began in 1914 when the German ambassador to the U.S., Johann von Bernstoff, was instructed to develop an intelligence network to keep America out of WWI and prevent the shipment of supplies and war material to the Allies—both by “any means necessary.” The organization, focused in New York, opened “the Manhattan Front” in 1915 with a series of merchant-ship bombings. Blum’s central figure, police inspector Tom Tunney, an experienced undercover operative, was assigned to break what British intelligence had demonstrated to its U.S. counterparts was a terrorist operation. The Brits had depended on intercepted communications; Tunney and his Bomb Squad depended on police work. “There was no specific law against espionage” in 1915, but as his well-financed opponents escalated their efforts to the point of attempted murder—of no less a figure than J.P. Morgan—and to projects for germ warfare, including anthrax, Tunney formed a picture, found “an angle of attack,” closed in, and made arrests. Blum’s narrative of America’s first exercise in homeland security is a worthwhile page-turner, combining the best features of a police procedural and a spy novel with a firm base in verifiable events. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (Feb.)
Ronald Kessler
“A suspense-filled tale, Dark Invasion uncovers a fascinating corner of history when courageous New York City police officers fought insurmountable odds to defend America against sophisticated German saboteurs at the start of World War I.”
Joseph J. Ellis
“This is a wonderful story, with a cast of characters out of a Cecil B. DeMille epic, told in a style that is lucid, lyrical, even electric. Narrative history at its very best.”
Norman Stone
“I read Dark Invasion without stopping. It is a well-researched and exceedingly well-written account of a pre-World War I series of terroristic attacks on the United States, in this case perpetrated by Germans. It is full of good stories and characters.”
John Steele Gordon
“Howard Blum has given us a fascinating–and hugely entertaining–glimpse into early 20th-century America.…And–eat your hearts out, novelists–it’s all true.”
Tom Reiss
Dark Invasion is a must-read for lovers of suspense and anyone who wants to understand how the basis of our homeland security system was born.”
Scott Miller
“In his gripping and expertly crafted narrative, Blum demonstrates that the best stories are true. Told in the great tradition of spy thrillers, Dark Invasion is the startling tale of German secret agents operating in the United States.”
Library Journal
09/01/2013
The author of New York Times best sellers like American Lightning and an Edgar Award winner, Blum tells the suspenseful true-life story of German plans to bring terrorism and sabotage to America even before it entered World War I. Police Inspector Tom Tunney, head of the NYPD Bomb Squad, put together what's being described as the first Homeland Security team. Pushed back from September.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-24
Terrifically engaging and pertinent tale of the New York City bomb squad that foiled German terrorist plots against the United States at the outbreak of World War I. Vanity Fair contributor Blum (The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush, 2011, etc.) masterly retrieves this largely forgotten, haunting history of Germany's subversive attempts to halt the U.S. ability to send munitions to the Allies fighting against it in Europe. The author pursues the key players in an episodic narrative: the agents of the Kaiser's secret intelligence service, the Abteilung IIIB, with commander Walter Nicolai extending its tentacles across the Atlantic to fund a campaign of shipping terror amid the New York and New Jersey docks; the members of the New York Police Bomb and Neutrality Squad, led by the enterprising Capt. Tom Tunney, who had lately infiltrated the anarchist Brescia Circle and diverted its attempt to bomb St. Patrick's Cathedral; and the strange and troubled Ivy League literature professor Erich Muenter, who went underground after poisoning his wife in 1906 and emerged as terrorist Frank Holt in 1915. The audacity of the German operatives, who received easy support from the plethora of German immigrants to America--e.g., the Hamburg-America Line officer Paul Koenig, who policed the shipyards in his thuggish way ("a thick-bodied, bull-necked man with long, drooping arms and iron fists that could seem as hell-bent as a runaway trolley car when they were pounding away at your skull") was matched by the ingenuity of Tunney, who had a nose for the right clue and method of infiltration. Blum creates some memorable portraits, accompanied by a lively gallery of photos, and keeps the heroic good-versus-evil plot simmering along in a nicely calibrated work of popular narrative history. Instructive, yes, but also as engrossing as good detective fiction.
Cokie Roberts
“Howard Blum’s story of the sinister and scary German terror attacks on America 100 years ago reads more like a LeCarré novel than a meticulous reconstruction of history.. This is a terrific spy story.”
Vanity Fair
“Throws light on the war of espionage and terror Germany waged against the U.S. in 1915.”
Life.com
“Sounds like a pretty good espionage thriller…In fact, it’s nothing less than authentic—albeit long-forgotten—American history, brought to vivid life…Dark Invasion reminds us…that ‘the past is never past’.”
Washington Post
“Wonderfully gripping…cleverly crafted tension.”
New York Post
“Blum briefs us on early homeland security with tales of German terrorists, including military officers, a germ-warfare expert, a Harvard prof and a document forger.”
Wall Street Journal
“Howard Blum’s riveting and perturbing Dark Invasion…is well-researched and written, and it maintains a fairly high level of suspense, which is difficult to bring off in a book about historical events.”
USA Today
Dark Invasion…will move you to the edge of your seat with the facts alone, but the author’s suspenseful detective-mystery narrative is what keeps you there.”
Dallas Morning News
“History is all about retelling tales that need telling. In Dark Invasion, Howard Blum has rescued a batch of compelling ones and woven them into grim, fascinating remembrance.”
Columbus Dispatch
“Compelling … a grim, fascinating remembrance.”
From the Publisher
Dark Invasion is must read for lovers of suspense and anyone who wants to understand how the basis of our homeland security system was born. Between 1914 and 1917, a clandestine network of German terrorists orchestrated a campaign of mass destruction and murder on American soil that has never been equaled.  The network was made up of brilliant scientists, suave diplomats, and military and civilian operatives at the highest and lowest levels. The one requirement imposed on its members was a willingness to murder Americans on whatever scale necessary, by whatever means necessary. Opposing this juggernaut was Captain Tom Tunney, head of the NYPD’s Bomb Squad, who in the process of working with his crack team of operatives would wind up creating the basis of America’s Homeland Security System nearly a century before 9/11. Expertly told by Howard Blum with shocking betrayals, surprising heroism, artful cons, and heart-in the-throat chases, Dark Invasion grippingly brings to life two sets of equally fascinating antagonists – cops and terrorists – as they contend over a nation’s fate.
—Tom Reiss, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Count and The Orientals

“A suspense-filled tale, Dark Invasion uncovers a fascinating corner of history when courageous New York City police officers fought insurmountable odds to defend America against sophisticated German saboteurs at the start of World War I.”
—Ronald Kessler, author of The Secrets of the FBI and In the President’s Secret Service
 
“In his gripping and expertly crafted narrative, Blum demonstrates that the best stories are true.  Told in the great tradition of spy thrillers, Dark Invasion is the startling tale of German secret agents operating in the United States during World War I and the determined effort of a New York detective to stop them.  The result is a book that is not only engrossing, but helps explain why America entered the Great War.”
—Scott Miller, author of The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
 
"I read Dark Invasion without stopping. It is a well-researched and exceedingly well-written account of a pre-World War I series of terroristic attacks on the United States, in this case perpetrated by Germans.  It is full of good stories and characters."
—Norman Stone, award-winning author of The Eastern Front: 1914-1917 and World War One: A Short History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062307552
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/11/2014
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
390,669
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.51(d)

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What People are saying about this

“A suspense-filled tale, Dark Invasion uncovers a fascinating corner of history when courageous New York City police officers fought insurmountable odds to defend America against sophisticated German saboteurs at the start of World War I.”
—Ronald Kessler, author of The Secrets of the FBI and In the President’s Secret Service
 
“In his gripping and expertly crafted narrative, Blum demonstrates that the best stories are true.  Told in the great tradition of spy thrillers, Dark Invasion is the startling tale of German secret agents operating in the United States during World War I and the determined effort of a New York detective to stop them.  The result is a book that is not only engrossing, but helps explain why America entered the Great War.”
—Scott Miller, author of The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
 
"I read Dark Invasion without stopping. It is a well-researched and exceedingly well-written account of a pre-World War I series of terroristic attacks on the United States, in this case perpetrated by Germans.  It is full of good stories and characters."
—Norman Stone, award-winning author of The Eastern Front: 1914-1917 and World War One: A Short History

Meet the Author

Howard Blum, an award-winning former reporter for the New York Times and currently a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, is the author of several bestselling non-fiction books, including The Brigade, The Gold of Exodus, Gangland, and Wanted! The Brigade is being made into a major motion picture by Miramax Films.

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Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could't put it down, once I began reading it.  The author knows how to unfold a story in the most gripping way.  Not to mention, very close to the facts.
LJPNH More than 1 year ago
If you have an interest in history and spying, this is a good read. I didn't know as much about the events of WWI as I thought so was fascinated to learn as much as I did. The amazing thing was how relevant these events of 100 years ago are to today's world.
insanepoet65 More than 1 year ago
Okay, I have to start out by saying I am a bit biased in this review; I LOVE history. What I love even more is learning something new about something we think we know. The subject this time around? World War I. The year is 1915 and America is not in the war. President Wilson is doing everything in his power to keep America out of the war. What he does not know is there are German spies on American soil; spies who are employing saboteurs to damage or destroy American ships that carry supplies to Allied troops. The saboteurs are succeeding. Enter NYPD Detective Tom Tunney. He is the lead of the bomb squad and given the task of stopping the saboteurs before more damage is done. Tunney gets a team together and the game of Cat and Mouse begins. For each step closer they get knocked back two on many occasions. Then the Germans up the game and start germ warfare on American soil. The intent is to poison horses and mules that are headed to Europe to help the allies. This book fires on all cylinders. It is a history that reads like a modern day thriller. As I read this book, I could not help but see the similarities between the world of World War I and the world of today. This is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Also read Hector's Juice!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago