A Glimpse Back in Time (#11) // Spy on History: Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army by Enigma Alberti & Scott Wegener + Review

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Glimpse Back in Time is a feature where I talk about the interesting history behind the books that I read! If you want to see previous posts for this feature, look here!

So, it's been a hot minute since I did one of these posts! I have read a few really excellent books that I have post ideas for for this feature. Today, though, we are going to be talking about VICTOR DOWD AND THE WORLD WAR II GHOST ARMY! 

Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2018
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 96

Summary (from Goodreads):

Your mission: Find Victor Dowd’s missing sketchbook. And discover one of the most unusual stories of World War II.

Meet the 603rd Camouflage Engineers, better known as the Ghost Army. This group of artists and sound engineers were trained to deceive the Germans in World War II with everything from fake tanks to loudspeakers broadcasting the sound of marching troops. And meet Victor Dowd, a real-life sergeant who with his fellow Ghost Army troops fought his way from Normandy, through France, and eventually across the Rhine.

Second in the Spy on History series, it’s a compelling story of a little-known chapter from the war—and a mystery to solve. Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope, readers will discover and unravel the clues embedded in the book’s text and illustrations, and uncover the mystery of Victor Dowd’s missing sketchbook.


Workman Publishing // Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Books-A-Million // Indiebound


VICTOR DOWD AND THE WWII GHOST ARMY was a super interesting read! I had never heard about the Ghost Army before I received the email asking if I'd like a copy of this book! So obviously I had to say yes!

This book is super informative and interesting with clues for a spy mission hidden throughout the book. I read the book through and then went back and looked for the clues and ultimately failed the spy mission. I guess I didn't pay close enough attention to detail.

The book tells the story of the Ghost Army and who they were and what their jobs were. It talks about some of the missions that they were assigned and what it was like for them.

I absolutely loved this book. If you like WWII history or little known history, you should check this book out! Or keep it in mind for when you are scrambling to finish your GR goal at the end of the year since it's only 96 pages!

A Glimpse Back in Time

The Ghost Army was a tactical deception unit whose job was to fool the Germans into thinking they were a real army (and often a much bigger one) with inflatable tanks and special effects.

The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops were made up of several units with different specialties, all used to make the Germans believe that the Allies were in fake locations.

The 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion Special were tasked with visual deception. They had inflatable tanks, trucks, guns, airfields and airplanes, etc that they set up to make the Germans believe there were many forces somewhere.

Men in this group weren't drafted by traditional means. They were usually hand selected from art schools around the country for their skills.

^^Victor Dowd^^

The Signal Company Special handled radio transmissions. They impersonated radio operators from real units, mimicking their methods of tapping out Morse code so the Germans would never know the real unit was long gone. The Germans listened to enough radio transmissions that they knew the names of men in different units and could tell Morse code operators apart based on how they tapped it out.

So the Signal Company had to be really good at their jobs.

The 3132 Signal Service Company Special were the sonic deception specialists. They recorded the sounds of armored and infantry units with wire recorders. The sounds could be mixed and matched to create whatever scenario was needed at the time. They were played from speakers on the backs of halftracks that could be heard from 15 miles away.

^^Aforementioned halftrack^^

There were also a few weathermen in this unit because weather could affect how sound travels and that was something that they needed to keep in mind. 

And finally the 406th Engineer Combat Company Special were the only ones trained in combat in the group. They were tasked with security and also with digging tank and artillery positions and setting up explosives to make it look like their dummy guns could really fire.

The Ghost Army carried out about 20 operations from 1944-1945. One of the riskiest deceptions they pulled off was in September 1944. General George Patton swept across France so fast that a seventy mile hole opened up in his line. The Ghost Army was called in to plug the hole until someone else could make it there to replace them.

They'd never tried to impersonate an entire division at once. But they did everything they could think of to imitate an infantry battalion. They played tracks of tanks and soldiers moving in. They set up their inflatable tanks and started on their "special effects". They gathered firewood and hung out around fires. They washed and hung up laundry. They sewed Sixth Armored patches onto their uniforms and painted markings on their vehicles and went into town so that everyone would see them there.

The operation was only intended to last for three days, but it ended up lasting a week. The Germans were fooled though because they blew their bridges and retreated back across the river.

The final, and most dramatic, performance of the Ghost Army was in March of 1945. The Ninth Army was preparing to cross the Rhine into Germany and the Ghost Army was tasked with faking a crossing ten miles South of where it was really going down.

The one thousand men of the Ghost Army had to impersonate two full divisions of the Ninth Army, which was about thirty thousand men.

They did a lot to build this deception. They sent radio transmissions from different locations and made it sound like major forces were on the move. 

They set up hundreds of inflatable tanks. They even had some real tanks that they would set up with the fake ones obscured behind it to look more believable. At night they played the sounds of tanks rolling in.

^^Inflatable tanks^^

During the day they played sounds of orders being shouted and bridges being built. They had an actual crew along to build bridges to support the deception.

They set up fake artillery and used flash canisters to make it look like they were actually firing. They also had real firepower from some of the Ninth Army.

They used smokescreen after smokescreen to hide their numbers and equipment. 

They set up two fake airfields with fake airplanes. The fake airfields were so believable that a pilot from their own side landed at it!

They set up field hospitals to make it look like they were prepared to deal with casualties.

The mission was very successful. The Germans sent the bulk of their forces to where the deception was and when the two divisions being impersonated actually attacked, they were met with a very disorganized and confused resistance. There were less than fifty casualties and the war was over soon after.

The Ghost Army wasn't declassified until 1996.



(All pictures from here)

Had you heard about the Ghost Army before now? Let me know in the comments!

Biggest Disappointments of 2017

Thursday, January 18, 2018

As much as we wish that we could love every book we pick up, that isn't always the case. I definitely read some books in 2017 that just weren't for me. But this is a post for books that REALLY let me down.

I was super excited for the books on this list. They sounded amazing. They have beautiful covers. But they were just raging disappointments for me.

1. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

This book sounded dark and creepy and generally fantastic. But I didn't really love the characters and the book as a whole was mostly unmemorable for me.

2. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

I think that this book would have been so amazing if there had been explanations or explorations of
----->A N Y T H I N G<-----
in it. Anything at all. I had like 9,000 questions when I finished this book.

3. The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

I requested this one because it was NA and I wanted some smut in my life. There was a lot of sex.
But it was all off the page.

4. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

How beautiful is this purple cover? Why couldn't I love the insides as much as the outside?
I felt like a lot of the action in this book that would have been interesting to read about happened off the page.

5. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Now for the book that disappointed me the most last year...

Why, Wintersong? You were so promising. 

I absolutely hated Liesel. I hated the romance. I hated the way sex was used in this book as a way to make the protagonist feel like she has worth.

Why did I request Shadowsong? And why did they approve me?

I'm probably going to end up hate reading it, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Did you have any major disappointments last year? Did you dislike any of the same books as me?

Waiting on Wednesday // The Defiant by Lesley Livingston

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Defiant by Lesley Livingston
The Valiant #2
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2018
Pages: 336

Summary (from Goodreads):

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.

What books are you looking forward to this week?

Review // Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Monday, January 15, 2018

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
DC Icons #1
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication Date: August 28th, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 376

Summary (from Goodreads):

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

So Wonder Woman: Warbringer was a book that I only bought because:

1. I like the author and I want all of her books.
2. I went to a tour stop and wanted to bring all the books.

Like, since I bought it, I figured I would read it eventually. But I have never been super into DC or Marvel or superheroes in general so it definitely wasn't a priority. But I needed a book for the superhero prompt for #ReadersCrossing and I bumped it way to the top of my TBR.

And I am actually glad that I did. I quite liked this book.

Also, I just recently bought and watched the movie Wonder Woman and I was pretty impressed with it. I figured I would be because Wonder WOMAN, but like I said, never been a fan of superheroes.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer starts off on the island of Themyscira with Diana saving a mortal from the World of Man and bringing her to safety. It is against the rules and there are fairly prompt consequences. It turns out that the girl that Diana saved is a Warbringer, if she is allowed to live past seventeen, war will surely come. The oracle's suggestion is to let her die, but Diana can't do it, so she sets off on a journey to cleanse her of this curse.

So, this is one of those books that takes place partially in a fantasy-esque setting and partially in a modern day setting. I don't generally like things like that. Fantasy settings are infinitely more interesting to me than anything modern day. This was no exception. I really liked the parts on Themyscira or in Greece (not that Greece is a fantasy location) better than in NYC.

I love love love Diana. She was brought up on an island full of immortal women, only reading about modern day things and people. I loved when Diana interacted with literally anyone outside of Themyscira. She is so bold and sassy and hilarious.

I don't know exactly how I felt about Alia. I didn't dislike her, but I didn't like.. love her. I don't know, maybe it was just because I liked Diana so much and no one in this book was as cool as her. I was totally rooting for Alia and was invested in her journey and all that, but I don't know, I didn't actively like her that much.

I feel like none of the characters are super duper memorable when compared to Diana. I don't know, I just really really loved Diana. I thought Jason was mostly boring. I liked Theo. And if I was going to pick a next favorite character, it would definitely be Nim.

I think all of the mortal characters were just so meh for me because the fantastical elements of this book were so much more interesting and the immortal women were so much more interesting and memorable to me and I feel like I wanted more of that. But I definitely gravitate more towards fantasy elements than real life ones.

This book isn't heavily focused on romance. The main focus of this story is ridding the world of the Warbringer curse, but there is a little bit of romance here and there. I liked Alia's romance a lot more so than Diana's.

The plot twist at the end where you find out who the villain actually is really surprised me. I wasn't expecting that to come about and I really thought someone else was going to be the shady one.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If you are a fan of DC, Wonder Woman, or super heroes in general, you may enjoy this book as well. If you're looking for a book low on romance and high on action, you should read this one.

Have you read this book yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!

Seventeen 2017 Releases That I Haven't Gotten to Read Yet

Thursday, January 11, 2018

We, as bookworms, know that there simply aren't enough hours in the day to get around to reading all of the amazing sounding books that come out every year. I'm pretty sure with my massive reading slump in 2017, I didn't even make a dent in my 2017 TBR. It's a shame because so many wonderful sounding books came out last year!

Here are a few of the books that I still need to get around to reading!


1. This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

2. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

3. Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi


4. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

5. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

6. Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman


7. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

8. After the Fall by Kate Hart

9. Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis


10. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

11. The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker

12. The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan


13. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

14. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

15. The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein


16. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

17. Remember Me Always by Renee Collins

What are some 2017 releases that you meant to get to, but just couldn't? Did we miss any of the same books?

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