Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage

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Discover the secret history of America's submarine warfare in this fast-paced and deeply researched chronicle of adventure and intrigue during the Cold War that reads like a spy thriller. Blind Man's Bluff is an exciting, epic story of adventure, ingenuity, courage, and disaster beneath the sea. This New York Times bestseller reveals previously unknown dramas, such as:
  • The mission to send submarines wired with self-destruct charges into the heart of Soviet seas to tap crucial underwater telephone cables.
  • How the Navy's own negligence may have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion, a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, in 1968.
  • The bitter war between the CIA and the Navy and how it threatened to sabotage one of America's most important undersea missions.
  • The audacious attempt to steal a Soviet submarine with the help of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and how it was doomed from the start.
A magnificent achievement in investigative reporting, Blind Man's Bluff reads like a spy thriller, but with one important difference-everything in it is true.
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About the author

Sherry Sontag is a former staff writer for the National Law Journal and has written for the New York Times.
Christopher Drew is a special projects editor at the New York Times and has won numerous awards for his investigative reporting.
Annette Lawrence Drew, the book's researcher, has a PhD from Princeton.
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4.6
64 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Mar 4, 2008
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781586486785
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Naval
History / Military / United States
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Political Science / Intelligence & Espionage
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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*The USA Today bestseller* Surprise... your target.

Kill... your enemy.

Vanish... without a trace.

From Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen, the untold story of the CIA's secret paramilitary units.
When diplomacy fails, and war is unwise, the president calls on the CIA's Special Activities Division, a highly-classified branch of the CIA and the most effective, black operations force in the world. Originally known as the president's guerrilla warfare corps, SAD conducts risky and ruthless operations that have evolved over time to defend America from its enemies. Almost every American president since World War II has asked the CIA to conduct sabotage, subversion and, yes, assassination.

With unprecedented access to forty-two men and women who proudly and secretly worked on CIA covert operations from the dawn of the Cold War to the present day, along with declassified documents and deep historical research, Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen unveils-like never before-a complex world of individuals working in treacherous environments populated with killers, connivers and saboteurs. Despite Hollywood notions of off-book operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually one piece in a colossal foreign policy machine.

Written with the pacing of a thriller, SURPRISE, KILL, VANISH brings to vivid life the sheer pandemonium and chaos, as well as the unforgettable human will to survive and the intellectual challenge of not giving up hope that define paramilitary and intelligence work. Jacobsen's exclusive interviews-with members of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service (equivalent to the Pentagon's generals), its counterterrorism chiefs, targeting officers, and Special Activities Division's Ground Branch operators who conduct today's close-quarters killing operations around the world-reveal,for the first time, the enormity of this shocking, controversial and morally complex terrain. Is the CIA's paramilitary army America's weaponized strength, or a liability to its principled standing in the world? Every operation reported in this book, however unsettling, is legal.

The Cold War was the first major conflict between superpowers in which victory and defeat were unambiguously determined without the firing of a shot. Without the shield of a strong, silent deterrent or the intellectual sword of espionage beneath the sea, that war could not have been won.
John P. Craven was a key figure in the Cold War beneath the sea. As chief scientist of the Navy's Special Projects Office, which supervised the Polaris missile system, then later as head of the Deep Submergence Systems Project (DSSP) and the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle program (DSRV), both of which engaged in a variety of clandestine undersea projects, he was intimately involved with planning and executing America's submarine-based nuclear deterrence and submarine-based espionage activities during the height of the Cold War. Craven was considered so important by the Soviets that they assigned a full-time KGB agent to spy on him.
Some of Craven's highly classified activities have been mentioned in such books as Blind Man's Bluff, but now he gives us his own insights into the deadly cat-and-mouse game that U.S. and Soviet forces played deep in the world's oceans. Craven tells riveting stories about the most treacherous years of the Cold War. In 1956 Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine and the backbone of the Polaris ballistic missile system, was only days or even hours from sinking due to structural damage of unknown origin. Craven led a team of experts to diagnose the structural flaw that could have sent the sub to the bottom of the ocean, taking the Navy's missile program with it.
Craven offers insight into the rivalry between the advocates of deterrence (with whom he sided) and those military men and scientists, such as Edward Teller, who believed that the United States had to prepare to fight and win a nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union. He describes the argument that raged in the Navy over the reasons for the tragic loss of the submarine Thresher, and tells the astonishing story of the hunt for the rogue Soviet sub that became the model for The Hunt for Red October -- including the amazing discovery the Navy made when it eventually found the sunken sub.
Craven takes readers inside the highly secret DSSP and DSRV programs, both of which offered crucial cover for sophisticated intelligence operations. Both programs performed important salvage operations in addition to their secret espionage activities, notably the recovery of a nuclear bomb off Palomares, Spain. He describes how the Navy's success at deep-sea recovery operations led to the takeover of the entire program by the CIA during the Nixon administration.
A compelling tale of intrigue, both within our own government and between the U.S. and Soviet navies, The Silent War is an enthralling insider's account of how the submarine service kept the peace during the dangerous days of the Cold War.
The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker.

Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey.

This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events.

The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column.
Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, videogame style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where they sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank.

Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
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