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Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionageby Sherry Sontag
Synopses & Reviews
Over the course of five years, investigative reporters Sherry Sontag and Chris Drew interviewed hundreds of men who had never spoken about their underwater lives—not even to their wives and children. They uncovered a wealth of classified information: the tapping of undersea Soviet telephone cables, the stealing of Soviet weapons, the tragic collisions of enemy submarines. They tell of medals awarded in secret and deaths disguised with disinformation. Blind Man's Bluff is a critical work of history that reads with all the excitement of a Tom Clancy novel and all the tragedy of Das Boot.
NO ESPIONAGE MISSIONS have been kept more secret than those involving American submarines. Only presidents and a select few have known the truth about the submarines that have for decades silently roamed the depths in a dangerous battle for information and advantage. Even the families of the men on board had no idea what their husbands, sons and brothers were doing, and anyone who went looking for the truth behind these mysterious missions found only a veil of silence. America's submarine espionage remained one of the last great secrets.
Now, after six years of research, veteran investigative journalist Sherry Sontag and award-winning New York Times reporter Christopher Drew finally reveal the exciting, epic story of adventure, ingenuity, courage and disaster beneath the sea. Blind Man's Bluff shows for the first time how the Navy sent submarines wired with self-destruct charges into the heart of Soviet seas to tap crucial underwater telephone cables. Sontag and Drew unveil new evidence that the Navy's own negligence might have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion, a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, thirty years ago. They disclose for the first time details of the bitter war between the CIA and the Navy and how it threatened to sabotage one of America's most important undersea missions. They tell the complete story of the audacious attempt to steal a Soviet submarine with the help of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and how it was doomed from the start. And Sontag and Drew reveal how the Navy used the comforting notion of deep sea rescue vehicles to hide operations that were more James Bond than Jacques Cousteau.
Blind Man's Bluff contains anunforgettable array of characters, including the spy who brilliantly guided America's undersea cable tapping on the basis of childhood memories of the Mississippi River; the cowboy sub commander who brazenly outraced torpedoes and couldn't resist sneaking up to within feet of unaware enemy subs; the star captain whose career was ruined in a disastrous undersea collision with a Soviet submarine; and the Navy scientist who wanted to build a fleet of submarines constructed entirely out of glass. Sontag and Drew take us inside clandestine Washington meetings where top submarine captains briefed presidents and where the espionage war was planned one sub and one dangerous encounter at a time. And they take us under the waves into the cramped quarters of American and Soviet submarines, where days of boredom were broken by moments of sheer terror as subs hunted each other in the dark silence of the deep sea, the shallow coasts, and underneath Arctic ice.
Stretching from the years immediately after World War II to the present-day spy operations of the Clinton Administration, Blind Man's Bluff is an epic story of daring and deception. 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.
This real-life Hunt for Red October is a story Naval Intelligence doesn't want you to know: the dramatic history of America's highly clandestine, dangerous, and sometimes deadly submarine espionage missions, from the Cold War thorough the Clinton administration.
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 Ph.D. from Princeton.
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History and Social Science » Military » Espionage