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Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First… (2014)
by Howard Blum
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Mostly well written with a wealth of detail. I was disappointed in the end as I think the author went, somewhat abruptly, a bit too philosophical. A gripping and intricate story and a good read. ( )
Engaging and well-written account of Germany's sabotage efforts in the United States in the 1914-1917 period, largely from the perspective of the NYPD squad that tried to run down the conspirators. Interestingly, while some plans aren't covered in detail (such as the 1916 Black Tom explosion, covered deeply in Jules Witcover's book), other plots, like plans to poison horses with germs, and the "cigar bomb" plots, are covered in deep detail that you don't see in many other places. The illustrations are well-chosen, since they largely show the players involved. Recommended as a good read.
I won this book in a GoodReads first reads giveaway.
While this is a subject I had known next to nothing about prior to reading the book, I am always in the lookout for an engaging historical narrative, and Dark Invasion provided an entertaining read.
The book's focus is fairly narrow, focusing mainly on the German Spy/Saboteur ring operating in and around New York City in the year prior to the United States entering World War One. Howard Blum has put together a great spy story from a vast array of first hand accounts, memoirs, and contemporaneous accounts. The book follows the investigations of Tom Tunney, who headed the New York City Bomb Squad, and is tasked with tracking down the web of conspirators responsible for bombing allied ships, setting fire to munitions factories, and attempted assassinations.
The intrigue is satisfyingly convoluted, and several threads, seeming disparate at the start, weave together to show just how vast and far reaching Germany's efforts at sabotage in America were.
This glimpse at how big the web really was keeps the book from seeming overly narrow. As Blum's history unfolds, we follow the spy network in its attempts to prod Mexico into invading the US, to engage in germ warfare, to undermine the manufacture and supply of munitions, among other plots. We also see the effects these efforts have on the tortured decision to bring America into WWI, and the mighty efforts President Woodrow Wilson made (some might say, against all sense) to keep the country out of the war.
Overall, this is in interesting and engaging historical narrative, well executed and highly readable. I would recommend it for any history buff, not just war- or WWI scholars.
Fascinating, I had no idea Germany had so many active agents in the US before and during WWI
Fascinating account of the first case of terrorism in American history, and it was not September 11, 2011. Woodrow Wilson, a pacifist and our president was attempting to keep us out of the war that was beginning in Europe. A war that began after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. As the war was being waged the Germans believed they could wage war on US soil and keep us in fear of jumping into the war including stopping our help with munitions, horses and food to our allies. A variety of tactics were used and all just led us closer to helping our Allies, including bio terrorism, instead of scaring us from entering the war.
I loved the quote at the beginning of the book by the then Police Commissioner, Arthur Woods, who said, "The lessons to America are clear as day. We must not again be caught napping with no national intelligence organization. The several Federal bureaus should be welded into one, and that one should be eternally and comprehensively vigilant."
Unfortunately, we still have not learned anything from history and it will continue to repeat itself. The same thing police Commissioner Woods said in 1919 rang true when it was repeated again after September 11 in the commissioned report after the terrorist attack.
Well written reading like a mystery thriller with many intersecting characters.
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (1)
"Combining the pulsating drive of Showtime's Homeland with the fascinating historical detail of such of narrative nonfiction bestsellers as Double Cross and In the Garden of Beasts, Dark Invasion is Howard Blum's gritty, high-energy true-life tale of German espionage and terror on American soil during World War I, and the NYPD Inspector who helped uncover the plot--the basis for the film to be produced by and starring Bradley Cooper. When a "neutral" United States becomes a trading partner for the Allies early in World War I, the Germans implement a secret plan to strike back. A team of saboteurs--including an expert on germ warfare, a Harvard professor, and a brilliant, debonair spymaster--devise a series of "mysterious accidents" using explosives and biological weapons, to bring down vital targets such as ships, factories, livestock, and even captains of industry like J.P. Morgan. New York Police Inspector Tom Tunney, head of the department's Bomb Squad, is assigned the difficult mission of stopping them. Assembling a team of loyal operatives, the cunning Irish cop hunts for the conspirators among a population of more than eight million Germans. But the deeper he finds himself in this labyrinth of deception, the more Tunney realizes that the enemy's plan is far more complex and more dangerous than he suspected.Full of drama and intensity, illustrated with eight pages of black and-white photos, Dark Invasion is riveting war thriller that chillingly echoes our own time"--
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)940.4History and Geography Europe Europe Military History Of World War I
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