lincoln's flying spies: thaddeus lowe and the civil war balloon corps

Calkins Creek/Highlights, 2010, ages 8 to adult
ISBN 1-59078-719-9


Junior Library Guild Selection
Best Children's Books of the Year - Bank Street College of Education
Nonfiction Honor List, VOYA
Honor Book, Society of School Librarians International
Cream of the Crop, Maine Regional Library System
Best Books of the Year, Nebraska Library Commission
A Texas Librarians' Choice
Kansas State Reading Circle

On June 1, 1862, Thaddeus Lowe floated a thousand feet above a fierce Civil War battle raging just outside the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. From the wicker basket dangling under his silk hydrogen-filled balloon, the aeronaut telegraphed a message to Northern generals on the ground: Union troops were finally driving back the Confederate forces. Lowe’s message was transmitted to the War Department in Washington a hundred miles away, where President Abraham Lincoln read his flying spy’s good news with relief.

For two years during the Civil War, Lowe and his fellow aeronauts spied on the Confederate army. This is the exciting story of Lowe’s efforts to organize the Balloon Corps and provide valuable intelligence to the Union army, even after the balloons became targets of Confederate shooters and saboteurs.


What Reviewers Say:

“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... Jarrow provides a solid introduction to an intriguing aspect of Civil War history.”
~ Booklist

“The use of surveillance balloons in the Civil War has been chronicled to some extent...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.”
~ Kirkus Reviews

"As Jarrow points out in this fascinating book, observation balloons had been used in warfare in the past. However, what Thaddeus Lowe was responsible for was the refinement of the technology...By telling the story of Lowe and his efforts at instituting change, Jarrow has combined a compelling story with sound research and writing."
~ Children's Literature Review

“This volume presents Civil War history and highlights this extraordinary man. Photographs, drawings, reproductions, and sidebars appear on almost every page.”
~ School Library Journal

“Forgotten bits of history often make the most interesting stories, as is the case with this account of the Union Army’s Aeronautics Corps during the Civil War.”
~ Library Media Connection

“Lincoln’s Flying Spies is a perfect vehicle to make history come alive to a younger generation. . . . If you buy only one Civil War history book for your favorite youngster this year, this is the one.”
~ Civil War News

"Lincoln's Flying Spies falls into one of those 'stuff you didn't know about the Civil War, and is wicked cool' categories that get so often overlooked in traditional retellings of the war...Gail Jarrow has created a real gem with this title."
~ Bookslut.com