During World War II, an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and scholars traveled abroad to collect books and documents to aid the military cause. Galvanized by the events of war into acquiring and preserving the written word, as well as providing critical information for intelligence purposes, these American civilians set off on missions to gather foreign publications and information across Europe.
... presents a fascinating, and until now little-known, story. Writing in an engaging style, Ms. Peiss synthesizes an array of historical details, intriguing personalities and byzantine bureaucratic divisions into a coherent narrative. She explains how heroic librarians not only aided the war effort—delivering intelligence about fascist technology, propaganda and infrastructure—but also altered the practice of librarianship, ushering in an era of mass foreign acquisitions and widespread microfilm use, as well as giving urgent focus to the rapid extraction of vital information rather than the simple storage of data. The history of librarianship isn’t as quiet as some of us might believe.
Peiss argues that the work of the LCM advanced the practice of library science, creating new techniques, technologies, and processes to improve the field. The author is not, however, uncritical of the LCM’s ethical and privacy practices ... This well-written and astutely researched book makes the wartime work of librarians engaging and engrossing. Those fascinated by intelligence missions or keen on the history of library science will appreciate this excellent read.
Peiss has done stellar work unearthing the contributions of librarians and archivists in collecting and preserving documents in Europe, actions that aided the U.S. government in its efforts to end the war ... Exhaustively researched, this is a recommended read for librarians, archivists, and WWII buffs who want to discover a little-known contribution in Allied war efforts