The Silent War: The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea

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9780743223263: The Silent War: The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea

Packed with the technological details and insights into military strategy that fans of Tom Clancy relish, The Silent War is a riveting look at the darkest days of the Cold War. It reveals, in gripping detail, the espionage, innovative high technology, and heroic seafaring the United States employed against the Soviet Union in the battle for nuclear and military supremacy. John Pi?a Craven, who shared management responsibility for the submarine-borne Polaris missile system, captures the excitement and the dangers of the times as he recounts the true stories behind some of the century's most shocking headlines and reveals harrowing episodes kept hidden from the public.
Craven describes for the first time the structural problems that almost caused the destruction of the Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, and presents startling information about the race to recover a hydrogen bomb from the B-52 bomber that went down off the coast of Spain. In a report no fan of The Hunt for Red October will want to miss, he provides a fascinating, authoritative perspective on the Navy's reaction to the rogue Soviet submarine and its mission.
A major contribution to Cold War history and literature, The Silent War will appeal to military buffs and fans of nonstop adventure thrillers alike.

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Review:

In October 1962, the United States government demanded that the Soviet Union remove long-range tactical missiles that it had positioned in Cuba, a short flight from targets like Washington and New York. After nearly a week's wait, during which the world braced for nuclear war, the Soviet government finally relented. It did so, in part, because its capitalist foe had one weapon that it then did not: 10 dozen submarine-mounted nuclear missiles that could be fired from beneath the waves and reach targets inside the Soviet Union within a matter of minutes.

In The Silent War, John Craven, an architect of the Polaris missile program, writes that the episode offered unambiguous proof of the value of "a strong silent deterrent" and of the importance of a superb submarine force in preserving the balance of power. In this memoir, he recounts the evolution of the Polaris weapons system during the cold war. Along the way, he reveals little-known incidents of espionage and saber rattling that will give readers pause to wonder how war was avoided for all those years. A bonus for Tom Clancy fans (who are likely to enjoy his book in any event) is Craven's sketchy but fascinating tale of a real hunt for a lost Soviet submarine that took place during his tenure as well as his accessible but nonetheless detailed account of the advanced military technology he helped bring into being. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

John Piña Craven was the chief scientist of the Navy's Special Projects Office from 1958 to 1970 and won two Distinguished Civilian Service Awards. He later worked as director of the Law of the Sea Institute and is currently president of the Common Heritage Corporation. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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