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Booklist - 04/01/2013 From Benedict Arnold and Lee Harvey Oswald to less notorious figures such as “Anna Chapman” (born Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko, though the author doesn’t challenge less able readers by mentioning that) and John Walker Lindh, this entry in the Shock Zone: Villains series introduces a dozen baddies—all American or at least working in this country. Writing in an informal tone (“Arnold started out as an OK guy”), Landau provides a quick description of each malfeasant’s career, capture, and fate, as well as at least superficial analyses of their motives. The breezy prose, illustrations that mix documentary photos with posed shots and movie stills, and a reading list heavy on spy “manuals” make this better suited to recreational reading rather than research. Which kids may prefer. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 04/01/2013 Gr 5–8—These high-interest, brief books deliver information about some of history's most notorious villains, most in two-page biographical sketches that relate their nefarious deeds without delving into gory details. While popular topics such as pirates and outlaws will always attract an audience, the brevity of each profile means that this set does not deliver enough background information to help readers fully place many of these people into historical contexts (such as Prohibition or the Cold War) and/or explain their actions. That weakness is most obvious in Monarchs, Assassins, and Gangsters, in which students may find the actions of "Bloody Mary," Al Capone, and others mystifying. Full-color and black-and-white photos and reproductions, word definitions in text boxes, and sidebars supplement the short biographies. Most of these figures have been written about in extant titles, making these books additional choices for reluctant readers. - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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