Burn, Bomb, Destroy

The German Sabotage Campaign in North America, 1914–1917

Michael Digby

The true story of German secret agents engaged in a campaign of subversion and terror in the United States before and during World War I.
Date Published :
September 2021
Publisher :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636240046
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The true story of German secret agents engaged in a campaign of subversion and terror in the United States before and during World War I.

Many believe that World War I was only fought "over there," as the popular 1917 song goes, in the trenches and muddy battlefields of Northern France and Belgium—they are wrong.

There was a secret war fought in America; on remote railway bridges and waterways linking the United States and Canada; aboard burning and exploding ships in the Atlantic Ocean; in the smoldering ruins of America's bombed and burned-out factories, munitions plants, and railway centers; and waged in carefully disguised clandestine workshops where improvised explosive devices and deadly toxins were designed and manufactured. It was irregular warfare on a scale that caught the United States woefully unprepared.

This is the true story of German secret agents engaged in a campaign of subversion and terror on the American homeland before and during World War I.

About The Author

Michael Digby is a former US Army soldier and retired Detective/Bomb Disposal Officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He has written two non-fiction books about bombings in Los Angeles and conducts training courses throughout the world on matters related to IEDs and bombs.


Chapter 1: The War Room
Chapter 2: First Target: The Welland Canal
Chapter 3: Bombing the Vanceboro Bridge
Chapter 4: The Cigar Bomb Plot
Chapter 5: A Gentleman Spy
Chapter 6: The Detroit Cell
Chapter 7: The Riverside Garage
Chapter 8: Swindlers, Scoundrels, and Saboteurs
Chapter 9: Bopp’s Gang
Chapter 10: TNT
Chapter 11: The American Front
Chapter 12: The Hoboken Bunch
Chapter 13: Black Tom Island
Chapter 14: The Munitions of War Conspiracy
Chapter 15: Dynamite Charlie
Chapter 16: Kingsland
Chapter 17: Declaration of War


"...a fascinating tale of international intrigue, geopolitics, divided loyalties, and criminal investigations during wartime."

- New York Journal of Books

"...an excellent overview of the tangled web of German espionage in the US."

- Roads to the Great War

"Using historical records and other sources ranging from pre-World War I through the 21st century, Digby’s book is a compelling narrative about people involved in German-inspired events to keep America out of World War I."

- Over the Front

"Digby has made a very valuable addition to the scholarship on the subject..."

- The NYMAS Review

"Digby introduces the reader to a host of colorful, and frequently sinister, characters."

- Journal of Military History

"Mr. Digby's book, with its wealth of telling detail and sweeping narrative to cover a range of loosely connected sabotage operations all over the country, makes a valuable addition to the literature on national security law and history."

- American Intelligence Journal

"Michael Digby is technically astute and a compelling author who consistently manages to compress the verbose, technical, and complex into a concise, easily readable, and enjoyable narrative. Frequently the story entails several threads, but Digby stitches them together so the reader maintains clarity without becoming lost and disorientated.  A mix of stunning revelation, to those previously uninitiated, and expertly told detail that explains and enhances through a well-crafted and logical flow; this book’s appeal will range from period enthusiasts to those who are simply looking for an exciting and historically accurate account."

- Liam FitzGerald-Finch, Former British Army Ammunition Technical Officer

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