Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War
Few know how close the world has come to annihilation better than the warriors who served America during the tense, forty-six-year struggle known as the Cold War. Yet for decades their work has remained shrouded in secrecy. Now, in this riveting new history, W. Craig Reed, a former U.S. Navy diver and fast-attack submariner, provides an eye-opening, pulse-pounding narrative of the underwater struggles and espionage operations between the United States and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that brought us to the brink of nuclear war several times.
Red November is filled with new revelations and never-before-reported stories that take you deep beneath the surface and into the action during the entire Cold War period from 1945 through 1992. Reed served aboard submarines involved in espionage operations, and his father was a top naval intelligence specialist intimately involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Reed is one of the first authors to obtain in-depth interviews with dozens of navy divers, espionage operatives, submariners, and government officials on both sides (including several Soviet submarine captains), who describe the most daring and decorated missions of the conflict, including the top-secret Ivy Bells, Boresight, Bulls Eye, and Holystone operations. Other events, whose full details have not been made public until now, include:
- The harrowing underwater cat-and-mouse chase in October 1962 that almost resulted in the firing of nuclear-tipped torpedoes by Soviet Foxtrot subs and could have started World War III
- The alarming collision between the submarine USS Drum and a Soviet Victor III–class sub (an incident the author experienced firsthand), the American boat's remarkable escape, and the all-out effort by enemy forces to hunt her down in 1981
- The role the author's father played in developing a highly classified, state-of-the-art system for detecting enemy subs that was instrumental in helping President Kennedy force Premier Khrushchev to back down at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis
- And the storm and resulting engine failure that trapped the USS Seawolf on the sea bottom during an espionage mission in Soviet waters that nearly took the lives of 190 sailors in 1981
Transcending traditional submarine, espionage, and Cold War accounts with its level of detail and first-person perspective, Red November is an up-close examination of one of the most dangerous periods in world history and an intimate look at the lives of those who participated in our country's longest and most expensive underwater war.
- HarperCollins, May 2010
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