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You Choose: Interactive History Adventures
February 1, 2013 (Paperback edition)
1429698985 / 9781429698986
1620657228 / 9781620657225 (Paperback edition, Paperback edition, later printing)
112 pages |
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||You can choose to perform espionage and sabotage missions in World War II as a member of the Danish resistance, as an agent for the German Abwehr, or as an agent for the American OSS.|
Espionage during World War II has been a frequent topic in gamebooks. The Time Machine series, for instance, has two excellent books dealing with this topic (Mission to World War II and World War II Code Breaker). This book measures up to them by allowing you to choose among different characters (and by giving you the unusual option of playing a Nazi agent). Like other You Choose books, however, it attempts to cover a lot of territory in a limited number of pages. While there are many interesting choices in the book, there is not enough room to fully develop all the possible storylines. As a result, many of the endings are abrupt and unsatisfying.
That being said, each of the three adventures included in the book includes one or two satisfying story paths, making the book a worthwhile (and educational) read. I wish the author could take each of the three adventures and develop them into longer ones, though that´s not something that looks likely at this point.
World War II Spies by Michael Burgan is an interactive history adventure focusing on three areas of the war, covering spy activity from both sides. The book allows you to take the role of a resistance fighter in Denmark, a German spy in the Abwehr or a member of the American OSS (these You Choose books generally offer three paths).
The book's stories are kept brief, short enough to fit in a reasonably thin book. The author has done plenty of research on the subject (also shown in the bibliography included in the back of the book). The book itself is printed on high-quality paper which allows a nice sheen to the various photographs used throughout, showing specific elements of spying that are relevant to the current section you are reading. The number one problem I generally find with the You Choose three-path books is that, while they are well-written for almost any audience including teen readers, their stories promise much but end up cutting themselves off short just when they are getting interesting. The Greek OSS mission, for instance, promises an exciting hunt for a mysterious explosive device the Nazis are working on only to be shunted aside for a more mundane task or an instant death scenario, so you never really get to look for the device at all. The other big issue I had was how the book has effectively been put through a "good guy" bleach rinse. The story in which you are a German working for the Abwehr almost immediately turns into a double agent tale about working for the Brits. This ends up being pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, where being an actual German spy working in England would have been a fascinating take on the typical 'spy for the good guys' guff we've grown so used to. Nevermind, though. The book does what it sets out to do, educating the reader on a few elements of history in a brief and interactive way, making it somewhat more entertaining than just scouring through a textbook (though it references plenty of those in the bibliography if that's your thing, too).
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the hardback cover image, plot summary and other details. Thanks to Ken G. for the original paperback images.|
|Users Who Own This Item:||Ardennes, Demian, hadlee73, jdreller, NEMO|
Known EditionsPaperback edition
Paperback edition, later printing