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Summary

No espionage missions have been kept more secret than those involving American submarines. Now, 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. It unveils how the navy's own negligence might have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion, a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, 30 years ago. It tells 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 it reveals 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 an unforgettable array of characters, including the cowboy sub commander who brazenly outraced torpedoes and couldn't resist sneaking up to within feet of unaware enemy subs. It takes 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. Stretching from the years immediately after World War II to the operations of the Clinton administration, it is an epic story of daring and deception. A magnificent achievement in investigative reporting, it feels like a spy thriller but with one important difference: Everything in it is true.

©1998 Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew (P)1999 Recorded Books, LLC

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Fantastic

I'm a marine engineering officer and I found this fantastic. Detailed enough to not be silly to anyone with knowledge of the subject but not over detailed to the point of boredom.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

I really enjoyed listening to this - informative, well-researched and structured. Although each chapter generally (not always) deals with a new topic, the chapters are more or less chronologically arranged, and there is a nice continuity where a number of characters turn up in several different chapters. If you're into submarines/war stuff then this is on a par with the famous ''Iron Coffins'' by Herbert Werner. I nearly didn't take the risk on buying Blind Man's Bluff after a ghastly experience with a previous audiobook by an American submariner (mercifully I can't remember the name of it) which, despite having absolute rave reviews, was utterly dreadful on many levels (I returned it).

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Great story that has not been told before

this was a fascinating book on stories that have not been told before. This really shows how the cold War was fought under the oceans.
thoroughly recommend this book.

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Fascinating!

Great read and keeps you wondering what on earth we were up to back in the day!

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An excellent read

No idea about the world of the submariner before reading the book... it’s an excellent read.

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Fascinating

A fascinating account of the ‘what happened’ regarding submarine activity during the Cold War. However it is a shame that the author does not explore the ‘why it happened?’ and the concomitant mindset and world view. The author writes about the USA’s breaches of International Law regarding territorial boundaries as if it is of no concern. I wonder if he would respond, similarly, if Soviet submarines had sailed within metres of an American naval facility? I think one of the fascinating aspects of this book are the assumptions which underpin it. From the Western view, NATO can be seen as a benign peace-keeping force but perhaps from a USSR perspective it seemed far more hostile? I have not yet completed the book so, perhaps, my perceptions may be wrong. However, at the moment, the lack of critical analysis regarding the deployment of the USA submarine force is irritating.

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fantastic listen from start to finish

first class in every way, very interesting and the fact that it all happened makes it a great listen

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  • R
  • 12-11-19

The Cold War that kept the peace.

A truly great piece of writing opening the lives of men who care to serve their countries on both sides of the fence. If I had a complaint it would be the pronunciations of Russian towns and areas as well as the word 'submariners'. I know the Americans use a different 'English' but it jars. Still a great book and the adding of appendix a & b along with the interview of the investigative writers was really great when you are given some insight in what it takes to bring this to life. One of the truly great points that became apparent was the respect towards their enmities these men who went on these mission had for those they faced and when something went wrong how it played upon their minds that they could have caused the deaths of fellow submariners.

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Excellent

Fascinating, well-written, demands re-creating. Arguably the best cold War submarine espionage read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Good history story

Enjoyed this book and some of the stories were eye opening and good to hear historical accounts of the submarine missions

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  • Kojoukhinator Sr.
  • 15-11-17

best Cold War documentary...

I seldom write reviews, but this book is an exception...
Growing up during Cold War Era in Soviet Union few people knew what's going on, on ether side...
Attempts to raise my generation with ideology of US as an enemy failed miserably, this book confirms gut feelings of young kids of 70s and 80s...
Very well written, excellent narration, captivating story, I just couldn't put this one down...
Highly recommend!

13 people found this helpful

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  • Frank Mx
  • 03-04-17

Outstanding

A must read for anyone interested in submarines, espionage or the cold war. Do not pass on this one.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Jeff Lambert
  • 29-09-17

WOW!!!

I served in the Navy in the early 80's and I had no idea this stuff was happening! This is a fantastic and compelling work. I highly recommend this read!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Don Ingersoll
  • 29-10-18

Former Boat Sailor

I enjoyed reading then listening to Blind Man’s Bluff as it brought me back to many of my experiences riding boats for 15 years of my Naval career. I found myself reminiscing about those times of fear and elation. I sent a copy to my parents who were shocked when they read about my boats.
I hope you take the time to read or listen to this book and consider the sacrifices and accomplishments of submarine crews. At the height of the Cold War there were 96 fast boats, about 11000 men responsible for safeguarding our way of life.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Nickolas S Rudolph
  • 27-03-17

fantastic read/listen

very interesting history of intrigue, politics, and heroism. another fascinating portion of the efforts during the cold war.

3 people found this helpful

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  • torpedo alley
  • 22-03-19

fascinated about submarines

This book is great on history & and increased my fascination of submarines
I have been interested in subs since my grandfather took me to see the U-505.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joy H
  • 16-04-18

Fascinating Read!

This book is riveting and a great opening into the rich, albeit secretive, history of submarines. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in the worlds navies!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rickey
  • 18-12-16

Fascinating

I had no idea what our subs were capable of nor did I realize how advanced our Naval Submersible fleet is becoming. Truly enjoyed this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Yolkb
  • 08-02-20

Great lesson in history.......could have been a little shorter though

Yes, I do recommend listening to this book if you enjoy history. The investigative journalist did a fantastic job telling about submarine espionage that has never been told before. The one part that got a bit long and drawn out for me was the saga of Scorpion. It was repetitive telling of what caused this sub to sink.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aaron A. Tyler
  • 10-02-19

excellent book

One of the best stories and performances I have ever heard. There send to be no end to the surprises and human perspectives uncovered in the book. I really appreciate to front seat view of this, very different world.

1 person found this helpful