Book Review: “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Paul B. Janeczko (https://www.paulbjaneczko.com). Mr. Janeczko has published 9 books. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book tells the story of the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troop unit of the US Army in WWII. 

This group, also known as the Ghost Army, were used in Europe to deceive and mislead the German Army. This was an unusual collection of artists, actors and engineers who used sound, camouflage, radio traffic, and play acting to make the Germans see what wasn’t really there. 

Many in the US Army did not like the idea of using tricks to fool the Germans. However, after the British successfully used subterfuge on the Germans in North Africa and proponents of the idea, including US Navy Lieutenant Douglas Fairbanks Jr (the noted actor) were able to sell the idea to the upper echelons of the Army, the unit was approved. The unit was quickly pulled together, trained, and sailed for England in early 1944. 

The unit took part in more than 20 battlefield deceptions and the unit was kept secret for more than 40 years after WWII ended. The 23rd had three different methods of deception: visual, sonic and radio. Because of their need for the Germans to generally see and or hear them, they operated very close to the front lines and suffered a few casualties. 

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 305-page history of the WWII era. I had listened a few months ago to a Missed in History Class podcast  episode about the Ghost Army. This book goes into much more detail about those in the unit and their operations. I like the selected cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5. 

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

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