The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from the Revolution to the 21st Century

Janeczko, Paul B. The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from the Revolution to the 21st Century. 2010. 256pp. Lexile 1200.

This YALSA Nonfiction Award Honor Book will appeal to spy and war buffs alike.  Of the twelve chapters about spies, some highlight individuals such as Civil War spy Rose O'Neale Greenhow and CIA agent Aldrich Ames.  Other chapters describe a group or project including the 1950s Berlin spy tunnel.  Between chapters are extensive sidebars on specific topics related to spying: invisible ink, gadgets and gizmos, spy satellites, and more.  Janeczko's smooth writing incorporates intriguing details about people and danger in each story.  The chapters can be read separately, in conjunction with a time period from the Revolutionary War to the 1980s, or read in order to get a sense of the changes over time to the dark game.

Nonfiction Tie-ins  A number of other nonfiction titles expand on topics in this book.  Readers interested in reading about Revolutionary War spies in more depth should try Thomas Allen's excellent George Washington, Spymaster.  The chapter on Benedict Arnold can be paired with Jim Murphy's The Real Benedict Arnold or Steve Sheinkin's The Notorious Benedict Arnold.  Janeczko also has an earlier book titled Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing.

Fiction Tie-in  Fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series, which begins with Stormbreaker, might enjoy this book.