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The Silent War: The Cold War Battle beneath the Seaby John Pina Craven
Synopses & Reviews
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.
An enthralling insider's account of the submarine operations that helped keep the peace during the Cold War is written by one of the most prominent figures in the bestselling "Blind Man's Bluff" and the man whose real-life adventures inspired "The Hunt For Red October."
Packed with the technological details and insights into military strategy that fans of Tom Clancy relish, The Silent War is a riveting look at the darkest days of the Cold War. It reveals, in gripping detail, the espionage, innovative high technology, and heroic seafaring the United States employed against the Soviet Union in the battle for nuclear and military supremacy. John Pi?a Craven, who shared management responsibility for the submarine-borne Polaris missile system, captures the excitement and the dangers of the times as he recounts the true stories behind some of the century's most shocking headlines and reveals harrowing episodes kept hidden from the public.
Craven describes for the first time the structural problems that almost caused the destruction of the Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, and presents startling information about the race to recover a hydrogen bomb from the B-52 bomber that went down off the coast of Spain. In a report no fan of The Hunt for Red October will want to miss, he provides a fascinating, authoritative perspective on the Navy's reaction to the rogue Soviet submarine and its mission.
A major contribution to Cold War history and literature, The Silent War will appeal to military buffs and fans of nonstop adventure thrillers alike.
About the Author
John Piña Craven was the chief scientist of the Navy's Special Projects Office from 1958 to 1970 and won two Distinguished Civilian Service Awards. He later worked as director of the Law of the Sea Institute and is currently president of the Common Heritage Corporation. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Table of Contents
1. In Peril Under the Sea
2. Design for Deterrence
3. A Calculus of Terror
4. An Oracle in Washington
5. Out of the Deep to Target, Perfect
6. War and Peace: Some Like It Hot
8. Triumph to Tragedy
9. The Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle
11. Humans As Marine Mammals
12. The Fisherman's Friend
13. The Tide of Destiny
14. Two-and-Twenty — The Aquatic Circus
15. The Hunt for Red September: A Tale of Two Submarines
16. Pensate Profundus
17. MIT Days
18. A Sea Lawyer in Hawaii
19. The Man Who Was Not There
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History and Social Science » Military » Nautical