We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Taking of K-129 Audiobook

The Taking of K-129: How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History

Regular Price:$35.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

An incredible true tale of espionage and engineering set at the height of the Cold War - a mix between The Hunt for Red October and Argo - about how the CIA, the US Navy, and America's most eccentric mogul spent six years and nearly a billion dollars to steal the nuclear-armed Soviet submarine K-129 after it had sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, all while the Russians were watching.

In the early hours of February 25, 1968, a Russian submarine armed with three nuclear ballistic missiles set sail from its base in Siberia on a routine combat patrol to Hawaii. Then it vanished.

As the Soviet navy searched in vain for the lost vessel, a small, highly classified American operation using sophisticated deep-sea spy equipment found it - wrecked on the sea floor at a depth of 16,800 feet, far beyond the capabilities of any salvage that existed. But the potential intelligence assets onboard the ship - the nuclear warheads, battle orders, and cryptological machines - justified going to extreme lengths to find a way to raise the submarine.

So began Project Azorian, a top-secret mission that took six years, cost an estimated $800 million, and would become the largest and most daring covert operation in CIA history.

After the US Navy declared retrieving the sub "impossible", the mission fell to the CIA's burgeoning Directorate of Science and Technology, the little-known division responsible for the legendary U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. Working with Global Marine Systems, the country's foremost maker of exotic, deep-sea drilling vessels, the CIA commissioned the most expensive ship ever built and told the world that it belonged to the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, who would use the mammoth ship to mine rare minerals from the ocean floor. In reality, a complex network of spies, scientists, and politicians attempted a project even crazier than Hughes' reputation: raising the sub directly under the watchful eyes of the Russians.

The Taking of K-129 is a riveting, almost unbelievable true-life tale of military history, engineering genius, and high-stakes spy craft set during the height of the Cold War, when nuclear annihilation was a constant fear and the opportunity to gain even the slightest advantage over your enemy was worth massive risk.

©2017 Josh Dean (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (46 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.6 (44 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (4)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (44 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mark Ganter New Jersey 10-14-17
    Mark Ganter New Jersey 10-14-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed it very much."

    Fascinating story that filled in allot of details beyond the documentary video about project Azorian I had already seen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-08-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The audio is terrible. "

    The end of every sentence is cut short and muted. Then a pause, then the next sentence. I have to return it. I'd love to hear it if it was better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Bone 10-08-17
    Bill Bone 10-08-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good Cold War history"

    At first you think you know all you need to know just by reading the title-but trust me you don't. Josh Dean does a meticulous job of presenting the details in storybook fashion which holds interest. Early on every reader of a certain age who lives through the Cold War and those too young to know or remember will be fascinated by all of the conflicts and confusion and moral uncertainty that are the hallmarks of this time in American history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 10-05-17
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 10-05-17 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    245
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    96
    53
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fascinating covert operation"

    On a bumper sticker: The Soviet Submarine K-129 sinks in very deep water. The CIA decides to try and recover the sub, enlisting Howard Hughes to provide cover for construction of a huge high tech ship to lower a giant claw down to the sub to grab it and pull it up to the ship.

    I'm a student (and former participant) of the Cold War, I enjoyed this book a lot. I knew the outline of the Glomar Explorer story, but few of the details.

    This book fills in the details. Over the course of Project Azorian many people were involved, although only a handful had full knowledge of the purpose of the Explorer.

    The author goes into detail explaining how the CIA managed to keep this four year program under wraps, despite many security close calls. In retrospect it is amazing that the program was not made public until after the mission was over.

    This is a nice long book and one gets to really know the principal players, both human and mechanical.

    Neil Hellegers does a good job narrating the book, he does have a kind of cadence of reading a sentence, pausing and the reading another sentence.

    I did notice what I think was a production flaw in first few chapters. I think the sound engineer got a little aggressive in his use of compression. When Hellegers pauses, as he often does, the sound level drops to about zero. This gives a kind of stuttering effect. Audio books are supposed to have a 'room tone' during pauses that keep the audio flow nice an smooth. This problem was corrected after the first couple of chapters.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russ 10-03-17
    Russ 10-03-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    64
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "“Water”"

    An amazing and well-written story. My only complaint is the reader’s constant and annoying mispronunciation of ‘water” as “wudder”. Please lose your regional accent if you read aloud for a living.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. W. Regis Silver Spring, MD United States 09-30-17
    K. W. Regis Silver Spring, MD United States 09-30-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging story, unfortunately. . ."

    the halting narration is very annoying. This person should not be allowed to narrate in my opinion. As I listen to more books I realize how much the narration plays in capturing the listener which is unfortunate given that this is one of the most brilliant lessons in art of spy craft.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.