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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4.5
76 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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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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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.
Forty years ago, in May 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion sank in mysterious circumstances with a loss of ninety-nine lives. The tragedy occurred during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it followed by only weeks the sinking of a Soviet sub near Hawaii. Now in All Hands Down, drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews, many with exclusive sources in the naval and intelligence communities, as well as recently declassified United States and Soviet intelligence files, Kenneth Sewell and Jerome Preisler explain what really happened to Scorpion.

In January 1968, a U.S. intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, was seized by North Korea. Among other items, the North Koreans confiscated a valuable cryptographic unit that was capable of deciphering the Navy's top-secret codes. Unknown to the Navy, a traitor named John Walker had begun supplying the Navy's codes to the KGB. Once the KGB acquired the crypto unit from the North Koreans, the Russians were able to read highly classified naval communications.

In March, a Soviet sub, K-129, mysteriously sank near Hawaii, hundreds of miles from its normal station in the Pacific. Soviet naval leaders mistakenly believed that a U.S. submarine was to blame for the loss, and they planned revenge. A trap was set: several Soviet vessels were gathered in the Atlantic, acting suspiciously. It would be only a matter of time before a U.S. sub was sent to investigate. That sub was Scorpion. Using the top-secret codes and the deciphering machine, the Soviets could intercept and decode communication between the Navy and Scorpion, the final element in carrying out the planned attack.

All Hands Down shows how the Soviet plan was executed and explains why the truth of the attack has been officially denied for forty years. Sewell and Preisler debunk various official explanations for the tragedy and bring to life the personal stories of some of the men who were lost when Scorpion went to the bottom. This true story, finally told after exhaustive research, is more exciting than any novel.
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