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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

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  • Overall
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One of the great stories in history

this is a really good luck at an interesting chapter in American history. the effort to raise the sub was truly massive and this look at it explore parts of the story the history channels special left out.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Great Story All the Way Around

I had always heard about the Glomar Explorer but really had no idea what actually happened. This book reads like a Tom Clancy novel. You won't be disappointed.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great Story, amazing

This is an amazing story. This is what exceptional American’s can do when needed. Thanks to all who help protect us and have to keep secrets and make huge sacrifices.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Epic!

Best book I've listened to in a long, long time.
Right up my alley, suspenseful, CIA, amazing engineering and technology, military.... this book has it all.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Loved this book Very well researched, good tech content excellent narration. Highly recommend to history buffs

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed it very much.

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

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Project Azorian and K-129

Excellent book - one of several I’ve read on the topic of K-129 and Project Azorian. This focuses more on the engineering feat than why K-129 ended up at the bottom of the Pacific. Great discussion of the CIA, Global Marine and Howard Hughes.

Highly recommend for those interested in Project Azorian and K-129.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very Interesting Read

This book takes a deep dive into the most audacious intelligence operation of the Cold War. The detail is impressive and the writing keeps you wanting more. I really enjoyed this story.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 04-20-18

Amazing Story: Reads Like a Novel

This is a really fascinating story of a CIA operation to raise a Soviet sub that was carrying nuclear missiles. The characters are very well-developed. The technology (and the speed with which it was developed) was amazing. I don't want to give too many details for fear of spoiling the story.

If there is one weakness in the book, it is the failure to really nail the question of what the operation accomplished in terms of gathering useful intelligence. There are a lot of rumors floating around. A lot of Navy brass at the time thought the whole exercise was essentially useless because the K-129 was an older boat when it sank. It would be really interesting to know the truth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful