: Red november: inside the secret u.s.-soviet submarine war (9780061806766) : W. Craig Reed : Books
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Red November: Inside The Secret U.s.-soviet Submarine War

by W. Craig Reed
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Product Details

  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Publishing date: 01/05/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780061806766
  • ISBN: 0061806765


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.

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  • A 1960s soldier
    From Amazon

    As I read the book Red November, I found myself having difficulty putting it down. I saw the book as reminisces of a father and a son, so recognized that their perceptions might not be totally accurate. As a teacher of memoir writing, I can see that perceptions of events change with time. No one can have totally accurate recall unless they have daily journals to rely on. Nevertheless, Craig Reed's stories, seen through his father's eyes and his own experiences, clearly show the depth (a deliberate pun) of the cold war and how close the U.S. came to becoming a Soviet country. I was a technician who taught soldiers how to prepare the U.S. Army's Corporal Missile (the first guided missile deployed in Europe during the 1950s) for duty in the event of a war with Russia. I was in the standby reserves during the Cuban missile crisis. I wondered as I read the book, why I wasn't as tuned as I thought I should be to these events. Because of Reed's book, I learned that the agreement between Kennedy and Kruschev was made on the day my last daughter was born, October 26, 1962. I wasn't focused on the crisis! But I knew how difficult it was to launch the Corporal missile and quite relieved that the missile battalions were removed from Germany and Austria a year after the missile crisis. Reed didn't mention them in his book, but I believed then that they were removed for the same reason the Air Force's Jupiter missiles were removed. Reed's book seems to confirm the tacit agreement that may have occurred between the two nations during this crisis. To me, his descriptions of the events that preceded the crisis gave me an appreciation of the importance of a strong defense of the U.S., something that is less appreciated today. The horrific consequences of not having learned the sub signatures and not having been able to track the Soviet subs throughout that period would have changed the world as we know it today. Would we have invaded Cuba when we learned that nuclear weapons were ninety miles from our shore? Would the Soviet Union have unleashed nuclear weapons against Washington, New York and Boston? Reed's development of the unseen and little known cat and mouse movements among the respective navies shows just how close we came to nuclear war. More importantly, his description of events up to and as part of the attack on Cuba and the blockade is masterful. This is the largest part of his book. I lost a friend on the USS Thresher, so learning a bit more about what might have occurred there was helpful to me. In terms of personal relationships, Reed was able to interview Soviet submariners who helped him understand what was going on in the enemy subs. I didn't get the idea that Reed was trying to capture actual dialog in his book. He made it much more readable by creating or enhancing conversations. I highly recommend that others read this book in the spirit it was written - to allow us who lived through the period to recall our own feelings and opinions, and especially to record them for our own families.

  • For armchair warriors only
    From Amazon

    When you encounter a sentence like: "Despite the thickness of his wet suit, the cold still launched his testicles into his throat", you know that you are reading a Guy Book. Written for Guys by a Guy. W. Craig Reed has been reading too much Tom Clancy and too many "Soldier of Fortune" magazines. His macho posturing spoils an otherwise fascinating book on submarines and submarine warfare in the modern era. "Red November" contains stories that are begging to be told by a professional historian. In Mr. Reed's hands, they read like a poorly written thriller. The chapters are full of B movie dialogue. His foreshadowing is crude and heavy-handed. And I had to ask myself, did every story have to be foreshadowed? After the fifth or sixth "Little did he know...", I found myself muttering "Enough already! I got the idea." If this is the result after an editor went over it, I shudder to think what the original manuscript was like. Despite the poor writing, the tales he tells are gripping. The unknown story of the four submarines that almost launched nuclear weapons ("Little did he know..." for each sub) during the Cuban missile crisis. The stories behind the sinking of various subs, both Russian and American. The possible raising of a sunken Russian sub. The diving feats at incredible depths of both subs and divers. The near misses. The collisions. This is great stuff. If the intended audience for this book is armchair warriors, then Mr. Reed has succeeded admirably. I can't, however, in good conscience recommend this book for the general reader. The history of submarine warfare in the latter half of the 20th century will be written again and better by military historians.

  • Great Addition To Your Understanding of The Cold War
    From Amazon

    Though I spent some time earning my Naval Flight Officer Wings back in the late 60's, I really had no idea what those guys with the cute fishies on their uniforms really did. The complexity of the missions and the stories these missions created is truly fascinating and inspiring. Mr. Reed does a terrific job blending first hand knowledge and understanding of these missions with good old story telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, recommend it to all and look forward to Reed's next book.

  • Good Book
    From Amazon

    The book was written in such a way that you knew the author had done his homework and had lived through a lot of the story. I was on a submarine like the one the author was on and I can tell you we did all of those things. It brought back lotws of memories, good and bad.

  • Enjoyable read
    From Amazon

    This review of Red November is based upon my enjoyment of the book. Having served a career as a Navy Deep Sea Diver, 16 yrs as a Saturation Diver, with tours on a couple Submarine Rescue Ships, SUBDEVGRU One, instructor a Naval School of Deep Diving Systems, etc. I found the book a very enjoyable read. Exciting, interesting, humorous and filled with many back stories that fill in gaps in my understanding of events. IMHO, The most enjoyable book on the subject since `Blind Man's Bluff'. To those "experts" that are annoyed by typos or claimed inaccuracies in a specific portion of the book, I appreciate the information they provided, but it doesn't diminish my satisfaction with the book overall. Trying to get new, accurate details, from old sailors, about events from many years ago, can be challenging at best. I found the reference portion at the back to be especially interesting, not having seen such in other books. (Though, I don't claim to be a prolific reader) I have purchased extra copies to give to my shipmates and family. From the Son of a Son of a Sailor, Good job and Bravo Zulu to Author, W. Craig Reed.

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