Book Review- Top Secret Files: The Civil War

by Elaine S. Wiener

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Top Secret Files: The Civil War
Stephanie Bearce
Prufrock Press Inc.
Paperback, $8.95, 117 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-1-61821-250-4

In Civil War times, there were no air conditioners and no electric fans. The women wore layers of petticoats and corsets. So you can imagine that in the summer, ladies got HOT. Because of this, it was common practice for women to carry hand fans. Some were elaborate fans made from silk, while others were simple fans.

Fans and handkerchiefs made clever ways to carry messages.  And maps were considered secret weapons because an accurate map was a treasure.

Stephanie Bearce has a wonderful way with words which will appeal to the young people reading this book, and I repeatedly report that I loved reading this series. It will appeal to all.

Germ warfare is something only found in science fiction movies when evil warlords unleash a deadly disease to wipe out their enemy. That’s just the stuff of stories, right? Wrong!

Germ warfare was attempted, but luckily it did not work. It was too early in history to make this feasible.

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was already famous, and it was its own germ warfare.

All the books in “Top Secret Files” are written to engage kids. The table of contents in “The Civil War” is divided into Secrets and Spies, Special Missions, Secret Missions, and Secret Forces.

Each chapter tells about secrets that were dealt with by children and women as well as the usual male spies. Where and how are secrets that most of us did not know until these books. The pictures and titles and pages that specifically tell children how to “spy” will appeal to young people as much as the stories.


ElaineElaine S. Wiener is Associate Editor for Book Reviews for the Gifted Education Communicator and can be reached at

Click to return to the GEC Fall 2015 Table of Contents