Non-Fiction Review: Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents

Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents by Carole P. Roman
Spies, Code Breakers, and Secret Agents: A World War II Book for Kids
by Carole P. Roman (Goodreads Author)

5 stars

This book begins with an overview of WWII and which countries were at war at that time. It details the names of different government spy agencies like the Soviet’s NKVD, Germany’s Abwehr, and Polish Intelligence, Britain’s MI6, and gives a general idea of how British and French Resistance would work behind the scenes to confuse the enemy.

Chapter 2 talks about various requirements for being a spy, where and how agencies would recruit their spies, and the ordinary jobs that spies would use as their cover.
Chapter 3 is all about spy gear and special gadgets! There are pistols hidden in gloves, maps hidden in playing cards, grenades disguised to look like lumps of coal, radio transmitters, invisible ink, and even the classic ring with poison hidden in a secret compartment.
The next chapters give stories about individual spies, their adventures, and how they served their countries. There are illustrated portraits of each spy, telling about their work, and how they were recruited into covert operations, and about their special skills or position that made them so effective. These bios include names like Julia Child, Roald Dahl, and Ian Fleming who became famous for their cooking and writing careers after their spy work was finished.

The last chapter features codebreakers with the stories of typing machines that would encode messages and how those algorithms were broken by mathematicians and cryptanalysts. I always love the story of the Native American Code Talkers who so successfully encrypted messages that were never decrypted by the enemy.

I loved the writing style in this book! It’s concise with lots of interesting information packed into each page. There are some very cool illustrations showing secret weapons and maps. The print is quite large, and the pages have a patina to them as though it was old paper from 1940.

This is the perfect book for middle grade or teens who are interested in history! It is sure to spark their curiosity!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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