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SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI, The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement

Author: Rick Bowers

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Publisher: National Geographic Books, 2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission had a secret mission: destroy civil rights activities and maintain segregation. From infiltrating groups with spies to targeting specific individuals, the book outlines the all-out efforts to maintain the status quo. This nonfiction history includes pictures, illustrations, and an extensive bibliography.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; read yourself: 13 and Up

Interest Level: 10 and Up

Reading Level: 10.1

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: My reactions ranged from intrigue to disbelief to outrage. I had no knowledge of the Sovereignty Commission or just how outrageously it (and others) misbehaved. I would add this to my "must read" list for all high school students.

Pros: Everyone needs to read this story about anti-Civil Rights activities in the 1950s and 1960s. It will add depth to their understanding of the time.

Cons: None. Note: This book is listed as being for a middle school audience, but the reading level is at a high school level.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a book you'll read and want to give to others because they need to know this history, too.

If You Liked This Book, Try: HOT PURSUIT: Murder in Mississippi   BURN MY HEART   SIT-IN: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Educational Themes: There are multiple facets of history to study in this book. There is the socio-cultural pieces of the Civil rights movement in the deep South, but there is also an opportunity to look at how governments work (for better or worse) and what intelligence services do.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - US history, Black History, 1960s, 1950s, Civil Rights Movement

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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