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The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles Hardcover – October 12, 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Since the Revolutionary War, espionage has created fascinating scenarios involving some quite unlikely participants. From Benedict Arnold and Mata Hari to the lesser-known Elizabeth Van Lew and Juan Pujol, Janeczko delves into their stories with delicious detail, drawing readers into a world of intrigue and danger. Did you ever wonder why invisible ink works? How a code breaker deciphers a message? Or whether dentistry could affect a secret agent's success? The answers to these questions and more can be found here. Each chapter covers a historical era and chronicles the maturation of spying, while primary-source photographs are interspersed throughout, lending an authentic feel to each section. A complete bibliography and source notes appear at the end. Janeczko manages to stay true to history while still keeping a lively tone.Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School, Glen Ellyn, IL
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Best known for his award-winning poetry titles, Janeczko has a long-held fascination with the shadowy world of espionage, which he explored in Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing (2004). Here he revisits cryptology basics and other intelligence-gathering techniques, but his main focus is on the spies themselves, and in a fascinating series of profiles, he presents notorious spooks, from the Revolutionary War to the cold war, closing with Soviet moles Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. A final passage briefly covers twenty-first-century developments, such as cyber espionage, but, as Janeczko says, the post-9/11 intelligence world is “a subject for another book.” A few portraits and reproductions of code charts illustrate, but this title relies mostly on Janeczko’s graceful, exciting storytelling to draw kids’ interest. With well-chosen subjects (including many women and African Americans who used their marginalized positions to gather information) and contagious enthusiasm for the spy world’s “tantalizing mysteries,” this makes a strong choice for both avid and reluctant readers alike, and appended source notes and a bibliography bolster the curricular appeal. Grades 6-10. --Gillian Engberg
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1200L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763629154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763629151
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,456,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Did you know George Washington established the first spy network in the country? Well, I do because I read The Dark Games! The Dark Game is an exciting compilation of exciting short historical stories, rich with detail. Historical photos and images of spy-related documents enhance the overall picture the book creates making it a must read.

It is a fascinating trip through many secretive events and the people who helped create them in history. It also illustrates the growth of technology in espionage well. From the Culper Ring to present day, each short story has something to offer. My favorite story was the part about the Culper Ring, which I thought was very interesting because of the varying techniques they used. This is an outstanding book I would recommend for any history buff, young and old. I put it on my favorite reads list!
By Carson P., age 11, Mensa of Wisconsin
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Format: Paperback
The Dark Game

Paul B. Janeczko wrote “Top Secret - A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing”. This 249-page book has six chapters, ‘Source Notes’, ‘Bibliography’, ‘Credits’ and ‘Index’. Many of the sixty-plus books won’t be found in your Public Library. Janeczko liked to read books on crime and detection, the FBI, the Secret Service, and Treasury Agents. This is an educational and entertaining read. The best value is its Bibliography of books that go into more detail. Chapter 1 discusses the Culper Spy Ring that provided information to George Washington. This prevented defeat and won battles. Benjamin Franklin created propaganda to aid the Revolution. Benedict Arnold’s character led him into treason. Invisible ink was used to hide secret messages.

Chapter 2 tells about the Civil War. Elizabeth Van Lew nursed Union prisoners and gathered information that was sent to the Union Army. She also helped prisoners to escape. The Union created a Balloon Corps to gather information on enemy forces. The telegraph allowed quick communication. There was a “clothesline” code and a “window-shade” code. Rose O’Neale Greenhow lived in Washington and gathered information for the Confederates. She continued to do so after house arrest. A black housekeeper brought news of the CSS Virginia, an ironclad ship. Harriet Tubman was the most important spy; she helped runaway slaves and escaped Union soldiers to go to the North.

The Great War is described in Chapter 3. This begins with the Revolution in Mexico. There was trouble along the border and a civil war in Mexico. Germany intervened in Mexico. The “Bridgeport Projectile Company” is described (p.87). Saboteurs created fires and explosions with “cigar” bombs. The “Black Tom” explosion was the worst.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Dark Games is an excellent non-fiction book written by Paul B. Janeczko. The book is broken up into each war the United States has been part of and discusses espionage during that war. With each war you learn surprising details of what was happening behind closed doors. You are also introduced to different spies that you have never read about in history books. The most intriguing information is the amount of female spies throughout the revolutionary and civil war. The book has many twists and turns that make you rethink what you knew about history.

You are also introduced to the evolution of spying technology and methods. As you read through each war, you can see the difference in methods of communications from the revolutionary war to the world wars. You can also see the advancement of technology that spies used from invisible ink to morse code.

This book reveals a side of history that we don't get to read about in school and if we did we probably wouldn't sleep through history class anymore. The fact that this spy book is non-fiction makes it that much better. This page-turning novel brings you into a secret part of history that we didn't know existed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good informative book, but it's ALOT of information to take in....it also wanders off from the spy theme of the book to just history facts which is kind-of annoying. It wasn't a bad book though, it was pretty decent over-all.
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Format: Paperback
My sons has been reading this for days. Just asked me to buy more spy books for him. Highly recommended for young readers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was kind of boring. I thought it led talk about violently missions and such but it talked about spy technology and boring fbi people.
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By gummy-bear on March 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book is amazing. I recommend it to anybody who is interested in military, spots, war or mystery books.
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