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The Ghost Army of World War II

The Ghost Army of World War II

How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery


By Rick Beyer, By Elizabeth Sayles


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In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of young GIs—including such future luminaries as Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, Victor Dowd, Art Kane, and Jack Masey—landed in France to conduct a secret mission. Armed with truckloads of inflatable tanks, a massive collection of sound-effects records, and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, their job was to create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the German Army as their audience.

From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the Ghost Army, conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Between missions the artists filled their duffel bags with drawings and paintings and dragged them across Europe. Every move they made was top secret and their story was hushed up for decades after the war's end. The Ghost Army of World War II is the first publication to tell the full story of how a traveling road show of artists wielding imagination, paint, and bravado saved thousands of American lives.

More Details

Format: Hardcover
Publication: April 2015
ISBN: 9781616893187
Historian Rick Beyer is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, and popular speaker. He wrote and directed the acclaimed documentary film The Ghost Army, which premiered on PBS in 2013.

Elizabeth Sayles is the award-winning, best-selling illustrator of more than twenty-five books for children. Her father, William Sayles, was a member of the Ghost Army, and she grew up listening to his war stories.