Cover image for The encyclopedia of World War II spies
The encyclopedia of World War II spies
Kross, Peter, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Fort Lee, NJ : Barracade Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
381 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D810.S7 K76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
D810.S7 K76 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Much of the information provided in The Encyclopedia of World War II Spies was researched from recently declassified OSS (Office of Strategic Studies) documents obtained from the National Archives, known as "Record Group 226." According to the author, it would take several lifetimes to review all of the material. What Kross has done in this work is put in an A-Z alphabet a selection of the unsung heroes, villains, organizations, terms, and spy rings of the U.S., German, Italian, and Japanese espionage industry of the war years. Entries include well-known spies, such as professional baseball player and scholar Morris "Moe" Berg, who worked for the OSS in the 1940s and in his most important assignment almost killed Werner Heisenberg, one of the lead German scientists working on the atomic bomb in Germany. There is also an entry on James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, a commander in the British navy who, with his own band of raiders, carried out espionage missions behind the lines. Other entries include Venona, a project begun during the war to break the code of all of the Soviet diplomatic messages being sent from the U.S. to Moscow. A major achievement of this project was the discovery that the Soviets had penetrated the Manhattan Project. More examples of entries are: Enigma machine, Navajo code talkers, and OSS truth drug project. Although other titles, such as Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage (1997), cover all aspects of espionage, this is the only one that focuses on World War II. Although its value as a reference tool is somewhat hampered by the lack of cross-references, it is a recommended purchase for public libraries where an interest in World War II and spies is evident.

Library Journal Review

World War II saw the advancement of espionage to higher levels than ever before. In his new book, Kross (Spies, Traitors, and Moles: An Espionage and Intelligence Quiz Book), chronicles the spies, their tools, and their operations during the war and into the beginning of the Cold War. From "Abwehr" (the German spy organization) to "Zacharias, Ellis" (of the Office of Naval Intelligence in the Pacific theater), the entries represent an overview of espionage activities. Notable spy cases, such as those of Alger Hiss and Kim Philby, are covered in detail. Other subjects are cryptography, the Navajo Code Talkers, and the question of just how much warning the United States had prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The alphabetically arranged articles are generally short but can run as long as ten pages; cross references to related articles are included at the end of each. Written in a style that lends itself to casual reading as well as research, this book is a good place to begin a serious study of this subject. Essential for libraries with World War II collections and worth considering by other libraries, especially with the recent renewed interest in Pearl Harbor. Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Kross's introduction calls WW II "the defining event of the 20th century." His purpose is "to tell the stories of these heroes and villains [all spies], and how their exploits changed the course of the war." Intrigue, deception, decoys, false drops, and cut-outs make up the profession of espionage. This handy compilation portrays the real cloak-and-dagger personnel of espionage: the good guys (us, the Allies) and bad guys (them, the Axis powers). Kross includes individuals from many nations and their behind-the-scenes escapades. Elizabeth Bentley, Guy Burgess, William "Wild Bill" Donovan, the U.S.S. Indianapolis, Ernest Hemingway, the OSS, the Rosenbergs, Wenner-Gren--these and many other individuals, agencies, and agents infuse this encyclopedia. Much of Kross's research has become possible only with the release of formerly top-secret files. The Venona Project, forerunner of the modern National Security Agency, is one of these: on February 1, 1943, the US Army Signal Intelligence Service, code named Venona, began to intercept and analyze Soviet diplomatic traffic. Researchers have to know that the CIA has declassified hundreds of thousands of pages of once-secret OSS records and turned them over to the National Archives. Kross's encyclopedia, alphabetically arranged by project, individual, and agency, provides a great service to devotees of the fascination and dread of spying immediately preceding, during, and following WW II. All collections. A. C. Vara Temple University