Written by Elaine Landau
This collection of twelve short biographies highlights a cast of historical characters notorious for their hostile actions against the United States. The high-interest content written for pre-teens and early teens is sure to interest casual and curious readers of all sorts. It’s written for just that purpose, although most of the names will likely be unfamiliar to the intended audience. The author does an excellent job of pulling readers in with relevant questions and a snappy tone.
The choices are varied, ranging from a Southern teenaged girl, who spied for the Confederacy during the Civil War, to a young American man who joined the Taliban. The brief biographies stay focused on the specific event and are organized chronologically beginning during the Revolutionary war with Benedict Arnold and stretching into this century with the likes of John Walker Lindh, Anna Chapman, and Robert Hanssen. (The most sinister mass murders are not included.) Some of the biographees are either FBI or CIA agents who played roles as both traitor and spy.
Each spread includes several photos (color when available) with captions and occasional insets that define a word or add extra information. The double-paged treatments are light on details and written to engage readers at about the fifth grade level. Older readers at a lower reading level and slightly younger readers will find this title intriguing as well. The introductory coverage may trigger further reading on the topic or individuals. A list of ‘Further Reading’ will head readers in the right direction.
The author has written hundreds of other books. You can learn more about her and her books at her website: http://www.elainelandau.com
This website gives more information on the CIA: https://www.cia.gov/kids-page/index.html
This website “Mrs. Covert’s Spy Lessons and Spy Links”has lots of links on all different aspects of spying: http://www.simegen.com/writers/rabbit/spying_lessons.htm