The Dark Game

The Dark Game This clever little package was forwarded to me by a librarian asset who managed to smuggle it out of the ALA conference a few weeks ago.

Paul B. Janeczko, who may be better known for his work in the much less interesting world of poetry anthologies, has produced a sexy little volume of true-life spy stories dating back to the Revolutionary War, and up to the very recent past. If this advanced copy (which is still a little rough, visually) lives up to its promise, I expect a great final version that will be a real thrill to readers of all ages.

Janeczko takes us on a very long trip, some 250 years into the past, to show the origins of America's intelligence apparatus, and how effective a small group of patriots were at foiling the British through espionage. In chapters devoted to the Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2, and the Cold War, we learn about much more than simply gadgets (of which there are plenty described in the book). We also learn about people, personalities, and motivations, creating a much fuller pictures of spies and spying than we are accustomed to seeing.

The work is filled with tradecraft, sidebars detailing important topics such as cryptography, and even some more intellectual discussions about outcomes and repercussions. A very enjoyable book, which I look forward to seeing in print.