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Publisher's 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

What listeners say about Blind Man's Bluff

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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!

14 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

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

11 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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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!

10 people found this helpful

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fantastic read/listen

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

4 people found this helpful

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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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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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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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Must read!

Couldn't put it down. I would drive around the neighborhood just to finish a chapter.

1 person found this helpful

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  • G. Williams
  • 06-07-20

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonjoe Mawson-Walton
  • 02-27-18

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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  • Reluctant Sceptic
  • 05-18-21

An American grind.

Mostly I found the listen a chore not helped by a clunky production. No doubt the sub mariners of whichever nation stood out s pretty incredible people, but clearly the US commanders were pretty gun ho and their bosses paranoid.. A book for flag waving Americans I guess.

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  • Panda
  • 04-17-21

Submarine Espionage

An good listen, it's a shame this book could not cover the operations in more modern times, but what was covered (1950-1980) was an very good listen. Recommended!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-16-20

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-20

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-20

Fascinating!

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

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  • amazonbod68
  • 08-30-20

An excellent read

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

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  • Mr. C. J. Libby
  • 11-14-19

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
  • 11-12-19

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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  • Tessa Button
  • 12-24-20

Cold hard submarine history and more!

This book is perfect for the budding historian. I enjoyed that; as much as it was factual, the information was given with a humanistic storytelling style.

The whole time I pondered how would this information really be safe to release. Although, I noticed the story wasn’t about the cold hard information or facts but about the men, their experiences and their personal stories. I feel that the humanistic approach to the facts is what gave these pockets of secret information the most chilling understanding of their reality.

I was surprised to read afterwards that the book was co-authored by a woman. When the eras documented had no female senior leadership or female submariners, the only women represented in this period where the wife’s and partners (as was the norm of the time). I imagine this style of storytelling can be contributed to a woman’s view and care that explained the untold life of these brave men and the intrinsic passions that inspired them to risk everything to serve their country.

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  • Vince in Perth
  • 09-13-20

Great history but hard to listen to

The book contains some fascinating history on the Cold War submarine era But not all books easily transfer to the medium of audio book and I feel this is one. Many parts of the book are very technical (submarine operations, mechanics etc) and whilst I appreciate the need for this level of detail in the book it actually makes for tough listening. So a good story, great history - just a little tough/tedious to listen to as an audio book.

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  • Brian
  • 08-30-16

Fantastic book

A great book and a very insightful read. Well researched and structured.

Narration style matches the story.