Review Blog

Feb 25 2014

Spying by Henry Brook

cover image

Ill. by Staz Johnson and Adrian Roots. Usborne, 2013. ISBN 9781409550143.
(Age: 9+) Recommended, Spies, War. Chapters about spying in all of its forms, are given in this easy to hold, easily read book. From an historical perspective to the modern day, reasons why nations and people spy upon each other are given. Told from a British perspective, the MI6 headquarters is one of the first of many illustration in the book. Chapters about ciphers, how to spy, secret messages, how spies work during war and so on are enough to whet the appetite to keep on reading. A double page tells the reader about Francis Walsingham, the famous spy who worked for Queen Elizabeth 1, then over the page we hear about Pinkerton and the detective agency he set up in the USA, T. E. Lawrence, and Mata Hari.
The world of course is changing and so is spying, so allegiances change. The last part of the book showcase the new inventions which help spying. So we see sections about drones, about the Enigma machine used during World War Two, many short stories outlining incidents during war and the Cold War, all fascinating and very readable.
A neat overview of a very messy business, maps and lots of photos and diagrams will keep the readers intrigued all the way to the end. A two page glossary covers many of the new words to do with this area of society and a more than adequate index brings the book to a close.
Fran Knight

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