This appealing picture book biography begins and ends with intrigue. Moe Berg was a Jewish American whose brilliance and talent brought him into two distinct realms — sports and spying. An extraordinary student and baseball player, Moe attended Princeton University and played on the school’s baseball team. He was fluent in several languages, sat in on biology and chemistry classes for fun, earned a law degree, and ultimately spent fifteen seasons playing professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers and other teams.
But Moe’s achievements did not insulate him from anti-Semitism. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, Moe was eager to help the United States and its allies defeat them, and went to work for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services as a spy. His intelligence, language skills, and boldness enabled him to gather vital information for the government. He even monitored a prominent Nazi physicist who was working on developing an atomic bomb.
Moe Berg is such a provocative figure that it only takes a few anecdotes to make him seem absolutely fascinating. But his story also raises issues of discrimination and Nazism, making this book a rich source for discussion. By contrast, the illustrations have a cartoonish appeal and lighten the book’s tone. An afterword and photos of the subject are included. Recommended for ages 5 to 8.