Front cover image for Information hunters : when librarians, soldiers, and spies banded together in World War II Europe

Information hunters : when librarians, soldiers, and spies banded together in World War II Europe

Kathy Lee Peiss (Author)
"Information Hunters examines the unprecedented American effort to acquire foreign publications and information in World War II Europe. An unlikely band of librarians, scholars, soldiers, and spies went to Europe to collect books and documents to aid the Allies' cause. They travelled to neutral cities to find enemy publications for intelligence analysis and followed advancing armies to capture records in a massive program of confiscation. After the war, they seized Nazi works from bookstores and schools and gathered together countless looted Jewish books. Improvising library techniques in wartime conditions, they contributed to Allied intelligence, preserved endangered books, engaged in restitution, and participated in the denazification of book collections. Information Hunters explores what collecting meant to the men and women who embarked on these missions, and how the challenges of a total war led to an intense focus on books and documents. It uncovers the worlds of collecting, in spy-ridden Stockholm and Lisbon, in liberated Paris and devastated Berlin, and in German caves and mineshafts. The wartime collecting missions had lasting effects. They intensified the relationship between libraries and academic institutions, on the one hand, and the government and military, on the other. Book and document acquisition became part of the apparatus of national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction. These efforts also spurred the development of information science and boosted research libraries' ambitions to be great national repositories for research and the dissemination of knowledge that would support American global leadership, politically and intellectually."-- Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2020
Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2020