During World War II, the U.S. 23rd Headquarters Special Troops was created to launch a series of operations to deceive the Germans.
Artists, actors, telegraphers, set designers, engineers, and sound technicians were recruited for this secret unit—an atypical group of soldiers. By using prerecorded sounds of moving tanks, staging false camps with inflatable tanks and artillery, driving around the countryside wearing fake unit patches, and feeding locals false information, the men of the 23rd may have influenced the course of the war. Although the information presented is accurate and generally interesting, the structure of this effort is unsatisfactory. Numerous pageslong supplemental sections (printed on darkened pages and in a sans-serif type) provide additional information on topics introduced in the narrative, but these sections confusingly interrupt the story, sometimes midsentence, and too often come before the topics are introduced. Other additional sections provide brief biographies of some members of the 23rd, sometimes long before or after they’re mentioned in the story. Additionally, each operation performed by the unit is described in repetitive detail, reporting over and over the use of uniform unit patches and unit designations on vehicles. Backmatter, however, is ample and detailed, including extensive source notes, a bibliography, image credits, and an index (the latter two not seen).
Save this one for only the most dedicated of World War II buffs. (Nonfiction. 11-18)