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Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe
by Kathy Peiss
In this fascinating account, cultural historian Kathy Peiss reveals how book and document collecting became part of the new apparatus of intelligence and national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction. Focusing on the ordinary Americans who carried out these missions, she shows how they made decisions on the ground to acquire sources that would be useful in the war zone as well as on the home front.
These collecting missions also boosted the postwar ambitions of American research libraries, offering a chance for them to become great international repositories of scientific reports, literature, and historical sources. Not only did their wartime work have lasting implications for academic institutions, foreign-policy making, and national security, it also led to the development of today's essential information science tools.
Illuminating the growing global power of the United States in the realms of intelligence and cultural heritage, Peiss tells the story of the men and women who went to Europe to collect and protect books and information and in doing so enriches the debates over the use of data in times of both war and peace.
Peiss, Kathy. Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2020. 296 pp. $31.49.
Kindle edition / audiobook available.