Secret, Lies, Gizmos, and Spies: A History of Spies and Espionage

Secret, Lies, Gizmos, and Spies: A History of Spies and Espionage

by Janet Wyman Coleman, The International Spy Museum
     
 

Published in conjunction with the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, this heavily illustrated volume details the secret history of spies and espionage through the ages. From the Trojan War to World War II, from James Bond to Austin Powers, all aspiring secret agents will learn about extraordinary and harrowing tales of famous spies and classified operations.… See more details below

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Overview

Published in conjunction with the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, this heavily illustrated volume details the secret history of spies and espionage through the ages. From the Trojan War to World War II, from James Bond to Austin Powers, all aspiring secret agents will learn about extraordinary and harrowing tales of famous spies and classified operations.

Featuring many photos of concealed weapons and covert gadgets, interviews with real spies, guides to key terms, and other death-defying spy stories, Secrets, Lies, Gizmos, and Spies will reveal the unbelievable and unpredictable world of artful deception.

Editorial Reviews

F. Todd Goodson
The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is fast becoming one of the most popular field trip destinations in the city, and this colorful, glossy book brings the resources of the museum to classrooms and libraries. It is hard for adolescents not to be interested in spies and spying, and this text is replete with high-interest illustrations and photos of cool spy gadgets, as well as discussions of spies and spying throughout history and in the popular culture. This book is an invaluable addition to any social studies class, providing examples of the kinds of historical details that never find their way into the textbooks. While passing reference is made to other historical periods, the vast majority of the book focuses on the World War II and Cold War eras. Any discussion of 20th century American history would be enriched by this text, and many reluctant adolescent readers would be captivated by the discussions of umbrellas that fire lethal pellets, listening devices hidden in decorative wall plaques, and all of the other treasures compiled here.
VOYA - Amy Sisson
Extensively illustrated with photographs on colored pages, this volume is one of those books designed to attract young people with superficial and sensationalized sound bites rather than meaningful information. The book calls itself a "collection of spy stories organized by what they have in common," but many of the "stories" are mere photo captions and the organization is difficult to follow, in part because there is no table of contents or index. For example, the section on "Codes, Code Makers, and Code Breakers" contains a paragraph indicating that Benjamin Franklin was a member of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, but does not divulge what this committee did or whether it communicated in code. A section titled "Gifts, Tunnels, and Other Clandestine Operations" consists of a single page apiece on the Trojan Horse and "The Thing" (a listening device implanted in a gift to a U.S. ambassador), with only a single sentence referring to tunnels utilized during the Vietnam War. The author also employs a juvenile tone that makes this book suitable for only the youngest end of the YA spectrum, such as when it advises readers that they can skip over the "grisly stories" (which are not particularly grisly) in one section because "no one will ever know" they did so. The bibliography may lead to some better sources, and the author is to be commended for including several female spies, but these attributes do not make up for the book's overall weaknesses.
Children's Literature - Kathryn Erskine
Who is not fascinated by secrets and spies? Chock full of facts and photos, this intriguing book, associated with The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, tells many of the mysteries of the clandestine world. How has secret information been gathered and delivered over the years? How have codes been broken? How have weapons been concealed? Answers, some of them surprising, to all of these questions can be found here. The stories of well known spies, like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as well as not so well known agents and double agents, are revealed. Deceptions from the Trojan horse to the Berlin tunnel are explained. Pens filled with lethal gas, and guns concealed in umbrellas, gloves, rings, and lipstick tubes are pictured. A timeline dates the first record of spying to 1800 BC, as evidenced by a clay tablet in Hammurabi's palace, and ends with the recently revealed domestic surveillance program by the United States National Security Agency. Key terms are translated throughout the book. Without a table of contents or index, however, it is less useful as a research tool than as a book for flipping through and enjoying. Although it does not always explain the whole story, probably due to lack of space--or is it?--this volume covers the heroics of many people on the front lines and behind the scenes, such as code breakers and scientists, all of whom play a role in a very deceptive world.
School Library Journal
Gr 6�10
Filled with historical and modern photos and reproductions and arranged loosely by topic, this quick read dives into the secret world of espionage. Providing a global perspective, Coleman explains that this is not a complete history of spying, but rather "a collection of spy stories." The true tales describe disguises, ways of gathering information, snooping devices, codes, clandestine operations, and weapons. Short bios of famous spies appear throughout the work. Fictional characters such as Alias, Maxwell Smart, and Austin Powers are mentioned as well. The engrossing, readable text will hold the interest of even reluctant readers. Some knowledge of American and world history is helpful in understanding the backgrounds of people and events covered. A variety of font styles, sidebars, and alternating paper colors adds visual appeal. Photographs are well captioned and nicely integrated within the text. Clive Gifford's Spies (Kingfisher, 2004) is similar in scope, but stronger in organization. Coleman's book gives greater coverage to specific spies. Libraries needing additional materials on the subject should consider adding this volume even if they already own Gifford's book.
—Lynn K. VancaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Illustrated with a fine array of early mini-cameras, hollow-heeled shoes and cleverly disguised weapons displayed at Washington D.C.'s International Spy Museum, this breezy if disjointed tour sweeps from Hammurabi's palace to Moscow's Butyrka Prison. Along the way, it peeks at triumphs and milestones in the history of intelligence-gathering while introducing a host of spies, traitors, double and triple agents, spy rings, femme fatales, plots and ploys, all the way down to the recent revelation of the NSA's Domestic Surveillance Program. Supposedly arranged by topic, it's a hodge-podge of short passages, photo captions, side essays and glossaries-over-designed, under-edited and sans index, but perfect for random dipping. Coleman focuses on the human side of the story, so budding 007s may want to pair this with the more high-tech oriented likes of Richard Platt's Eyewitness Spy (2000). (bibliography, illustration credits) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810957565
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2006
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.37(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

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