I can recommend the new book “The League: The True Story of Average Americans on the Hunt for WWI Spies,” by Bill Mills. It’s a bit dry, but I just finished “Waiting for Sunrise,” novelist William Boyd’s thriller about spies during World War I (the hero is manipulated into spying for the British and at one point has to crawl around No Man’s Land, trying to go missing without actually getting lost). So my perspective might be a little off in that regard.
Certainly I had never heard of the American Protective League — volunteers willing to work for free, skulking around after their fellow citizens, sneaking into their homes, trying to grab them off the street. All you had to say was, I heard him talking trash about President Wilson, and you could get the guy who was flirting with your wife hauled off to jail.
It’s appalling. Americans have a fundamental right to be obnoxious loudmouths.
But I also was not aware of the terrible toll on American industry from saboteurs, and I now take a very dim view of the Wobblies.
Read “The League” — or “Waiting for Sunrise” — and tell me what you think.