Reviews for Lincoln's Flying Spies : Thaddeus Lowe and the Civil War Balloon Corps


Booklist Reviews 2010 October #2
This well-researched volume introduces American aeronaut and showman Thaddeus Lowe, who convinced President Lincoln that hydrogen-filled balloons, rising high above the countryside, could provide Union generals with useful information about the position, strength, and movements of Confederate troops and artillery. Although some generals considered Lowe's Balloon Corps useless, others appreciated the danger of their missions and the value of having spies aloft. The book's final chapter traces Lowe's life after the war. Sidebars carry information about topics such as "Lowe's Portable Gas Generator" and "Confederate Spy Balloons." Quoting extensively from official Civil War records as well as Lowe's memoirs and reports, the text offers a detailed account of his contribution to the Union war effort. Many period photos, prints, and drawings illustrate the book in black and white. A time line, bibliography, and notes are appended along with lists of recommended books, Web sites, and places to visit. Jarrow provides a solid introduction to an intriguing aspect of Civil War history. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Jarrow traces the history of the first U.S. "air force," the Balloon Corps, during the Civil War. Beginning with background about the group's founder, Thaddeus Lowe, the text then follows the corps as it collects intelligence about the Confederate Army from the skies to support the Union in battle. Photos, maps, and illustrations bring the history to life. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., ind. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 September #2
The use of surveillance balloons in the Civil War has been chronicled to some extent in such books for young readers as Thomas B. and Roger McBride Allen's Mr. Lincoln's High-Tech War (2009) and Paul Janeczko's Dark Game (2010), but none has covered the subject with as much depth and detail as this engaging story of how the enterprising Lowe, already famous as an aeronaut at the outbreak of the Civil War, convinced President Lincoln of the value of using balloons to spy on the Confederate army. For two years, Lowe led a corps of balloonists who counted rebel soldiers, monitored troop movements and directed artillery fire against enemy positions. The effectiveness of the corps prompted the Confederates to make the balloons targets of sharpshooters and page saboteurs. Using Civil War photographs, other archival images and a variety of primary sources, Jarrow reveals the clashes Lowe had with high-ranking Union officers, dangers the balloonists faced and the value of the intelligence the corps provided, thus offering readers rich insight into a little-known dimension of the Civil War. (timeline, source notes, bibliography, further reading and websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 January/February
Forgotten bits of history often make the most interesting stories, as is the case with this account of the Union Army's Aeronautics Corps during the Civil War. This book explains how hot air balloons were used by Union soldiers and spies to oversee what Rebel armies were doing and to influence key battles. Literally a bird's-eye view of important events, this book is also a biography of a handsome, charming, and endlessly self-promoting scientist and entrepreneur who forged a new military branch and laid the foundation for aeronautics strategies in future wars. Filled with rare photographs and drawings, and embellished with highlights of both famous and less well known people and events of the period, this book will tie in seamlessly with readings and discussions about the Civil War while also leading readers to new insights and paths of inquiry. Thoroughly researched with both primary and secondary sources and appended with an extensive list of resources for learning more, this titl will make a valuable contribution to a Civil War collection. Bibliography. Timeline. Index. Recommended. Jenny MacKay, Children's Author, Sparks, Nevada ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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