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

By Josh Dean
Read by Neil Hellegers

15.78 Hours 09/05/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9780525499718

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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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’s 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.

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Summary

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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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’s 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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Josh Dean has a gift for unearthing remarkable stories lost to history, and in The Taking of K-129 he has uncovered perhaps the most remarkable one of all—a story replete with spies and engineering marvels and a secret drama unfolding thousands of feet beneath the sea. Brilliantly researched and beautifully written, this is a book you can’t put down.” David Grann, New York Times bestselling author
“From the depths of the Pacific and the depths of CIA covert operations comes an absorbing tale of daring engineers and shadowy espionage. A terrific read.” David E. Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author
“An epic befitting the top shelf of espionage and military reads. Prepare for impact—you won’t be able to put this one down.” Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author
“An absorbing, suspenseful chronicle of a remarkable Cold War episode.” Wall Street Journal
“A worthwhile addition to the shelves of military history buffs, nautical enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys a well-told story.” USA Today
“The stellar research Dean uses to tell this captivating tale includes declassified primary documents, personal journals, and autobiographies…A Cold War espionage story that seems implausible yet is still true. Recommended for fans of naval history, marine engineering, ocean mining, and spy stories.” Library Journal
“In a lively, you-are-there pace…Dean delivers an engaging rendition of the high-profile espionage effort.” Booklist
“An engrossing account of shadowy intrigue, precision engineering and ultra-deception, The Taking of K-129 is a high-stakes espionage drama of operational boldness married with technical brilliance.” Robert Wallace, author of Spycraft
“As a former submariner and navy diver, I give Josh Dean an A+ for The Taking of K-129. This nonfiction account of one of the most dangerous and daring missions of the Cold War is well-researched and reads like a Tom Clancy thriller.” W. Craig Reed, author of Red November

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Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Josh Dean

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Runtime: 15.78
Audience: Adult
Language: English