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Top Secret Files: The Cold War: Secrets, Special Missions, and Hidden Facts about the CIA, KGB, and MI6

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Poison dart umbrellas, lipstick pistols, and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and British MI6, but you won't learn that in your history books! Learn the true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Discover how East Germans tried to ride zip Poison dart umbrellas, lipstick pistols, and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and British MI6, but you won't learn that in your history books! Learn the true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Discover how East Germans tried to ride zip lines to freedom, while the Cambridge Four infiltrated Britain and master spy catchers like Charles Elwell were celebrated. Then make your own secret codes and practice sending shoe messages. It’s all part of the true stories from the Top Secret Files: The Cold War. Take a look if you dare, but be careful! Some secrets are meant to stay hidden...


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Poison dart umbrellas, lipstick pistols, and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and British MI6, but you won't learn that in your history books! Learn the true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Discover how East Germans tried to ride zip Poison dart umbrellas, lipstick pistols, and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and British MI6, but you won't learn that in your history books! Learn the true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Discover how East Germans tried to ride zip lines to freedom, while the Cambridge Four infiltrated Britain and master spy catchers like Charles Elwell were celebrated. Then make your own secret codes and practice sending shoe messages. It’s all part of the true stories from the Top Secret Files: The Cold War. Take a look if you dare, but be careful! Some secrets are meant to stay hidden...

49 review for Top Secret Files: The Cold War: Secrets, Special Missions, and Hidden Facts about the CIA, KGB, and MI6

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is the second book in the “Top Secret Files” series that I’ve been fortunate enough to read and review. Dedicated to “The Cold War” – a concept which author Stephanie Bearce is successfully able to convey to young readers who did not have to live through it – the book contains short stories describing spies for the West and for the East (and sometimes for both) and tales of unusual missions in the 1950s through 1970s. The book also contains a few crafts to help bring the stories to life for This is the second book in the “Top Secret Files” series that I’ve been fortunate enough to read and review. Dedicated to “The Cold War” – a concept which author Stephanie Bearce is successfully able to convey to young readers who did not have to live through it – the book contains short stories describing spies for the West and for the East (and sometimes for both) and tales of unusual missions in the 1950s through 1970s. The book also contains a few crafts to help bring the stories to life for younger readers. Ms Bearce successfully paints a picture with words that are age-appropriate to her audience, but are also engaging to the occasional adult reader. I was familiar with some of the stories described in this book – mostly those of a biographical nature involving famed spies who were caught – but found many others new to me, especially ones about missions. What I cannot successfully evaluate is whether the book truly conveys the sensation of “two worlds” that existed during the Cold War – the book successfully takes me back to my younger days (remember “duck and cover”?) but am not sure if today’s youth will truly get that sensation after reading it. Perhaps the Cuban Missile Crisis could been included among the stories – it would have made a good yin/yang with the stories that are told about the Berlin Wall. Recommended. RATING: 4 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    American Mensa

    Top Secret Files: The Cold War paints a picture of the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States by providing short passages about individual’s key to the dispute. It also includes experiments and fun facts that add interest to the book. My favorite parts of the work are the passages about spies from the KGB, MI6, and CIA. It’s amazing to learn that even a great-grandmother was a valuable spy for more than forty years, not just people like James Bond. All in all, I would give thi Top Secret Files: The Cold War paints a picture of the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States by providing short passages about individual’s key to the dispute. It also includes experiments and fun facts that add interest to the book. My favorite parts of the work are the passages about spies from the KGB, MI6, and CIA. It’s amazing to learn that even a great-grandmother was a valuable spy for more than forty years, not just people like James Bond. All in all, I would give this book four stars. It presents history in a way that is exciting for readers, but at times it can be a bit elementary. As a result, I think this book is best suited for pre-teens, or younger teens under fourteen. That said, it’s definitely worth the read, especially if you can’t seem to make sense of the subject matter at school. Reviewed by: Ryan P., age 16 Mensa 76

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah McElrath

    This non-fiction book is full of great stories and little known facts about the Cold War. It is divided into four sections: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, and Secrets Weapons. It also has projects that one can do to bring the subject matter to life -- like building a carrot submarine or creating a UFO. I found the section on spies and special mission fascinating. Of course, I'm old enough that the chapter about the nuclear bomb drills and fallout shelters were reminders of my childhood--the wh This non-fiction book is full of great stories and little known facts about the Cold War. It is divided into four sections: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, and Secrets Weapons. It also has projects that one can do to bring the subject matter to life -- like building a carrot submarine or creating a UFO. I found the section on spies and special mission fascinating. Of course, I'm old enough that the chapter about the nuclear bomb drills and fallout shelters were reminders of my childhood--the whole duck and cover method that wouldn't have saved us at all (not that I knew that at the time). It was especially interesting to me to read this book now, when there is so much in the news about Russia hacking our election. The stories in this book--now declassified information--make me even more leery of Russia, Putin, and what the motives involved. The amount of KGB spies that infiltrated very high levels of our government during the cold war make it not at all inconceivable that they still continue to do so. Interesting book that would be great for intermediate and middle school students--especially those interested in history or those who are not big into reading--since it is a quick but interesting read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This book was thoroughly engaging with great stories and activities for middle grade readers. The length of the book makes it ideal for readers who need to read a chapter book but who don't want a real long one. The fact that the stories are fascinating and true make it all the more enjoyable. If history textbooks were written and presented more like this, students would undoubtedly be more willing to read them. I appreciated the selection of different stories that the author shared as they high This book was thoroughly engaging with great stories and activities for middle grade readers. The length of the book makes it ideal for readers who need to read a chapter book but who don't want a real long one. The fact that the stories are fascinating and true make it all the more enjoyable. If history textbooks were written and presented more like this, students would undoubtedly be more willing to read them. I appreciated the selection of different stories that the author shared as they highlight both sides of the Cold War. Stories of spies who fooled others for decades, spies who couldn't support their country anymore and became double agents, special missions, and awesome tools and weapons used by the different agencies. The story of a famous magician training agents on the use of illusion and deception was intriguing, especially since he never told anyone about it. The activities included in the book are fabulous. Simple enough that most children can find the needed supplies but intriguing enough for readers to be interested in doing them. A fun new series that I can heartily recommend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Archer

    A Great Read About The Cold War! From nuclear bombs and secret weapons to stories about some very unlikely secret agents, THE COLD WAR is another great book in the Top Secret Files series about history for middle grade readers. Find out about failed missions as well as those that were successful. Read about the spy who made his escape disguised as a St. Bernard, and the magician who trained agents in the techniques of trickery and deception. Find out about the building of the Berlin wall and the A Great Read About The Cold War! From nuclear bombs and secret weapons to stories about some very unlikely secret agents, THE COLD WAR is another great book in the Top Secret Files series about history for middle grade readers. Find out about failed missions as well as those that were successful. Read about the spy who made his escape disguised as a St. Bernard, and the magician who trained agents in the techniques of trickery and deception. Find out about the building of the Berlin wall and the men who zip-lined over the top! UFOs—did they bring aliens from space, or were they experimental military aircraft? This is great supplemental reading for students who want to understand just what the cold war was and how it started. Great writing and fascinating facts will keep kids reading to find out more beyond basic information. As in all of Bearce’s books, activities like building a carrot submarine, launching your own flying saucer, or demonstrating the power of a glacier will draw them in even more. THE COLD WAR is a great read for avid history fans as well as those more reluctant to read about history! An excellent addition to the Secret Files books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erik This Kid Reviews Books

    What I Thought- I love history. I love spies. This book has both. I often am hesitant to review books on subjects I am very fond of because, I find myself being very picky on how things are presented. I was very happy with this book because I learned from it, I think it is written well for the audience it is for (8+) and I think it is very well presented. Ms. Bearce also includes activities related to the book that would be a great resource for teachers. She also includes some really cool facts What I Thought- I love history. I love spies. This book has both. I often am hesitant to review books on subjects I am very fond of because, I find myself being very picky on how things are presented. I was very happy with this book because I learned from it, I think it is written well for the audience it is for (8+) and I think it is very well presented. Ms. Bearce also includes activities related to the book that would be a great resource for teachers. She also includes some really cool facts about what was going on during the cold war. I was fascinated to learn that the really cool, stereotypical spy gear actually existed (well, at least some of them). That was a real eye-opener. There is really cool true stories about some of the real spies. I like how Ms. Bearce doesn’t really bias herself on which side she portraits and offers a fair assessment of both sides. This is an interesting, introduction to the history of the cold war and will lead kids to looking further into the topics covered. Ms. Bearce I think kids in the fourth grade and up would like it, but the book is suited for younger advanced readers too. *NOTE* I got this book free in exchange for an honest review

  7. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Bennett

    Bearce provides 25 unique Cold War stories, divided into 4 sections: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, & Secret Weapons. She focuses on everyday people, politicians, & leaders during the Cold War. This book is a great match for Cold War and/or espionage history middle grade readers. The publisher recommendation is 9-12 year olds, but this book is more for 11-14 year olds, making the exception for younger readers who are mesmerized by the Cold War or espionage history. This book is a great additi Bearce provides 25 unique Cold War stories, divided into 4 sections: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, & Secret Weapons. She focuses on everyday people, politicians, & leaders during the Cold War. This book is a great match for Cold War and/or espionage history middle grade readers. The publisher recommendation is 9-12 year olds, but this book is more for 11-14 year olds, making the exception for younger readers who are mesmerized by the Cold War or espionage history. This book is a great addition to curriculum resources. Each story can stand alone, providing multiple instructional opportunities. Also, it includes 8 Cold War espionage activities for more instructional support. As a librarian, I would have valued this book more if there were parenthetical citations to show my students authentic citation examples. Purchase in libraries where the Cold War or espionage history is of high interest or in the curriculum.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christina Schmidt

    Stephanie Bearce’s “Top Secret Files” series proves just how interesting history can be. With sections like: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, and Secret Weapons, these books are jam-packed with fascinating facts that will inform and entertain any age. This latest installment includes construction of the Berlin Wall and stories of daring escapes, from tunneling under the wall to zip-lining over it. There are spies in all shapes and sizes: an 87-year old grandma, animals, and even a magician who h Stephanie Bearce’s “Top Secret Files” series proves just how interesting history can be. With sections like: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, and Secret Weapons, these books are jam-packed with fascinating facts that will inform and entertain any age. This latest installment includes construction of the Berlin Wall and stories of daring escapes, from tunneling under the wall to zip-lining over it. There are spies in all shapes and sizes: an 87-year old grandma, animals, and even a magician who helped train CIA operatives. There are interesting sidebars about the Bridge of Spies, Dr. Seuss’ Butter Battle Book, and the true story that inspired the movie “Argo.” The chapters are short and easily digestible, and every section includes hands-on activities. There are links to online material and lists of reference materials. TOP SECRET FILES: THE COLD WAR is an excellent addition to any home or classroom library!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Nitz

    Brrrrr. The Cold War got its name because the clash between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact never turned into a hot, shooting war. But Top Secret Files focusing on the special mission and hidden facts about the CIA, KGB, and MI6 shows just how lively things got with lost nuclear generators, planted microphones, spy planes, and tunnels to freedom. Spies picked up tricks from magicians. Secretaries stole plans their bosses’ safes. One scholar, who was supposed rec Brrrrr. The Cold War got its name because the clash between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact never turned into a hot, shooting war. But Top Secret Files focusing on the special mission and hidden facts about the CIA, KGB, and MI6 shows just how lively things got with lost nuclear generators, planted microphones, spy planes, and tunnels to freedom. Spies picked up tricks from magicians. Secretaries stole plans their bosses’ safes. One scholar, who was supposed recruit Berkeley students for the KGB, wound up becoming one of the most successful spies for America. And the stories just get crazier from there! A great read for kids no matter whether they want to sip a few at a time or gulp them all down. The games and crafts add a dimension.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    I received this book as an early review book from Library Thing and the publisher Prufrock Press, Inc. This is a great little history book! Illustrations are eye-catching. If you love spies, danger, and gadgets, this is the book for you! I just can't imagine too many kids wouldn't love the snippets of information they can glean from this book. There are also projects for those who are more "hands on". Information is backed up by book and website bibliography. It reminds me of mental floss magaz I received this book as an early review book from Library Thing and the publisher Prufrock Press, Inc. This is a great little history book! Illustrations are eye-catching. If you love spies, danger, and gadgets, this is the book for you! I just can't imagine too many kids wouldn't love the snippets of information they can glean from this book. There are also projects for those who are more "hands on". Information is backed up by book and website bibliography. It reminds me of mental floss magazine in the way the information is presented. I am keeping my fingers crossed that these will be AR books before too long as I would like to purchase the whole set. If Stephanie Bearce can make "The Cold War" accessible and intriguing, I can't wait to see the "Bootlegger and Gangster" book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Downey

    I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads giveaways. This book is full of fun facts and true stories that will entertain the entire family. I passed this book along to my 10 year old brother and my (almost) 14 year old brother quickly claimed it as his own since he was enjoying so much. This book isn't just for middle grade though; it would be a good read for the whole family! I would recommend this book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  13. 5 out of 5

    Quintina

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Jacobsmeyer

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lavery

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Kent

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  20. 5 out of 5

    Literacious (Laura)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sillypickle

  22. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  24. 4 out of 5

    Esther

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vykki

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Schwarzer

  31. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Bingham

  32. 4 out of 5

    Larry

  33. 4 out of 5

    Ann Ellis

  34. 5 out of 5

    Alesha

  35. 4 out of 5

    Coleen

  36. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  37. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Obrien

  38. 5 out of 5

    Michele

  39. 4 out of 5

    Denese

  40. 5 out of 5

    Cathyann

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  42. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Summey

  43. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  44. 5 out of 5

    Ted

  45. 4 out of 5

    Eddy Bryant

  46. 5 out of 5

    Susan Coster

  47. 5 out of 5

    Leland Lee

  48. 4 out of 5

    Eden

  49. 4 out of 5

    David Bathurst

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