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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