Tuesday, February 9, 2016

THE DARK GAME: True Spy Stories by Paul B. Janeczko

Little-known fact: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a spy. I practiced by spying on my younger brother, naturally. It all seemed so cool and glamorous. When I got to college and heard from speaker G. Gordon Liddy about the Watergate break-in, I was glad I'd grown out of it.

Still, I like learning about actual spies, and have written a bunch of poems about some of the spies featured in THE DARK GAME: True Spy Stories by Paul B. Janeczko, who says in the introduction that he shares my childhood interest in spying. The book includes tales of revolutionary spies (the Culper spy ring and Benedict Arnold), the Civil War (including women and African Americans), both World Wars and the ensuing Cold War.

In addition to profiles of individual spies or groups, there is information about the technology used by spies. The book came out in 2010, and I've had a copy sitting here in my house since before then (an ARC picked up from the publisher at a conference). It was a finalist for a YALSA award for excellence in nonfiction in 2011. I'm only sorry I didn't read it much sooner. Now I'm off to locate a copy of Janeczko's earlier title, Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing (2004).

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