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Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage by [Sontag, Sherry, Drew, Christopher]
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Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Little is known--and less has been published--about American submarine espionage during the Cold War. These submerged sentinels silently monitored the Soviet Union's harbors, shadowed its subs, watched its missile tests, eavesdropped on its conversations, and even retrieved top-secret debris from the bottom of the sea. In an engaging mix of first-rate journalism and historical narrative, Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, and Annette Lawrence Drew describe what went on.

"Most of the stories in Blind Man's Bluff have never been told publicly," they write, "and none have ever been told in this level of detail." Among their revelations is the most complete accounting to date of the 1968 disappearance of the U.S.S. Scorpion; the story of how the Navy located a live hydrogen bomb lost by the Air Force; and a plot by the CIA and Howard Hughes to steal a Soviet sub. The most interesting chapter reveals how an American sub secretly tapped Soviet communications cables beneath the waves. Blind Man's Bluff is a compelling book about the courage, ingenuity, and patriotism of America's underwater spies. --John J. Miller

From Publishers Weekly

In an unusually successful amalgam, veteran journalists Sontag and Christopher Drew combine a gripping story with admirable research to relate previously unknown information. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. depended heavily on submarines for intelligence gathering, whether tracking Soviet missile subs, monitoring Soviet harbors and missile tests or, in some cases, retrieving lost Soviet equipment. The U.S.S.R. responded with everything from comprehensive espionage operations to depth charge attacks on particularly intrusive snoopers. The broad outlines of this clandestine confrontation are relatively familiar, but the details have largely remained secret. Although the authors have based their book largely on interviews with submariners, intelligence operatives and politicians, they recognize the possibility of distortion and back up personal accounts with an elaborate and convincing system of verification. While necessarily incomplete, the resulting work depicts what was arguably the most successful long-term, large-scale intelligence operation in American history. From captains to seamen, the participants combined technical proficiency, insouciant courage and a cheerful scorn for regulations that often interfered with their missions. That mind-set was hardly calculated to avoid direct confrontations, and accidental collisions were not uncommon. The authors nevertheless make a solid case that the risk of a destabilizing incident was far outweighed by the gains of the campaign?especially given the depth of mutual ignorance during the Cold War.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4103 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (March 4 2008)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089EMLGK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,486 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very interesting book about some of the unknown parts of the Cold War.

The book goes through a number of different events but weaves the context of the Cold War and special operations nicely throughout. It talks about Ivy Bells and the Glomar Explorer (Op Jennifer, i think), for example, as well as many more. There is just enough technical aspect here to keep things from feeling dumbed-down too much, but I would have preferred still more. That probably would've made things a bit too long though.

For the academics, it has a great section of notes and sources.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read, excellently written.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a series of long vignettes about submarine spying and operations during the Cold War.
That these collections of stories are able to be told are a testament to the author's research and abilities to remove submariner's from their oaths of silence. The fact that they are writing about still classified events means Blind Man's Bluff lacks a central story line or continuous chronology. The authors could only relate those events that participants chose to disclose and describe. Thus, the book is very episodic as oppossed to being a neat history of the subject.
That being said, the stories are fascinating and moving. Thank a submariner the next time you run into one. These men risked (and still risk) a cold and silent demise in pursuit of their missions -- missions that contributed greatly to ensuring that the Soviets would not be tempted to go nuclear during the cold war due to our constant ability to keep ahead of their technology, strategy and tactics and general war fighting ability.
The stories are thrill rides of missions in Soviet waters, collissions between U.S. and Soviet subs, the loss of both Russian and American boats (with all hands), and close to shore cable tapping by our navy that is as breathtaking as anything Tom Clancy could dream up.
The authors do sometimes go overboard in their "breathless" writing as some of the other viewers write, but I found this only a minor annoyance. The stories of the men and machines themselves are the focus and the authors write them well.
(The only thing that nagged me through the book was the realization that so many of our naval personnel were willing to talk about events that they swore never to reveal. The authors do not spend much time on this issue.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm ambivalent about this book. On one hand, it tells much about submarine SpecOps at the height of the Cold War, on the other hand, it tells much about submarine SpecOps at the height of the Cold War.
Confused? Don't be: My ego loves that the story of what we did, how difficult it was, and how well we did it, is being told, but on the other hand, secrets and long-held confidences granted to members of the submarine fleet by our country have been opened up public scrutiny. I'm certain this book was read avidly in the fleet headquarters of the former Sov-block nations. Thus, my ambivalence.
Why, then, do I rate this as five stars?
Having been a member of SUBDEVGRU ONE, and crewman of the USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687), there is much in this book on which I cannot comment, and there lies the strength of this book: It tells stories that would never otherwise have seen the light of day, outside of the standard "Usta-Fish" brags quietly told between those of us who actually lived the events told in Blind Man's Bluff. Sure, some stories are free to tell, like the wildness at the Horse and Cow, or the antics of Animal Andrews, but many others would have been lost to time. Stories of not just the boats of DEVGRU ONE, but also those of boats tasked ad-hoc, both diesel and nuclear, with intelligence gathering are related, as are confrontations and challenges with the fleet of our one-time foe. Of great interest to me were the chapters dealing with the boats that had engaged in 'research' early in the Cold War, and the unique and harrowing tasks they carried out.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Everyone I know has told me to read this book so I finally did. It is a great piece of writing about the US Sub program during the Cold War. I don't know what you want to hear, but you should buy it or check it out. It is well written and captivating and makes you wonder what secret stuff is happening right now.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Blind Man's Bluff shows once again that fact is often far more compelling than fiction. The real life stories of courage and audacity presented here are powerful, gripping, and occasionally even moving. No matter how many times you may have seen The Hunt for Red October you won't be prepared for the reality of life under the sea in enemy territory. The book loses some of its heroic qualities as it enters the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton eras, as it leaves personal stories behind for a "bigger picture" view of struggles between the admninstrations and Congress and summits between Reagan and Gorbachev. However, it never loses its sense of awe and wonder at what Americans accomplished through hard work, quality training, and some of that good old-fashioned "American know-how." (We also get some glimpses of what the Soviet counterparts had to endure; similar dangers from the deep with additonal dangers from their own equipment.) This is easily the most intriguing modern history book I've read since Jim Lovell's Lost Moon. No reader will be disappointed.
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