Bearce has once again culled little known information about WWI and combined it with more well-known details and events in a book that will fascinate young readers. For instance, they will read about the secret society, the Black Hand, formed by the Serbian Army for the purpose of freeing Serbia from being ruled by Austria-Hungary, which led to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife and the start of WWI.
And then, in the section on Spies, there is the prospector/mining engineer Howard Burnham, who had lost part of his leg before the war in an accident. Working for the Allies, Harry traveled into German territory to do learn enemy troop positions. Howard has a photographic mind and didn't need to put anything on paper. In addition, he cleverly hid his surveying tools in his prosthetic leg and no one was ever the wiser. Readers will also read about brave women like Nurse Edith Cavell and Nurse Marthe Cnockaert, whose professions helped them spy for the Allies. After the war, Cnockaert went on to write spy novels.
One of my favorite stories in the Special Missions section are the dazzle ships. Radar was unknown in WWI, and the Germans had developed their submarines or U-boat to such an extent that Allied ships were being successfully torpedoed by them. A British naval officer named Norman Wilkinson came up with a unique way to confuse the Germans: camouflage the ships by painting the bright geometric patterns so the U-boats couldn't zero in on their position. See what I mean:
|HMS London (1918 Public Domain)|
And they will learn about some secret weapons that were used, like carrier pigeons and dogs, and Little Willie, the tank that was able to put an end to trench warfare. How? Here's a hint:
|The newly invented tank could easily cross over a trench|
A Bibliography of Books and Websites is included for further exploration. Like Bearce's book on WWII, this volume is also sure to please young history buffs, or anyone else who like a good secret.
This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Prurock Press