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Red November: Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War [Paperback]

W. Craig Reed
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

5 Sep 2011

Red November delivers the real life feel and fears of submariners who risked their lives to keep the peace.”
 —Steve Berry, author of The Paris Vendetta


W. Craig Reed, a former navy diver and fast-attack submariner, provides a riveting portrayal of the secret underwater struggle between the US and the USSR in Red November. A spellbinding  true-life adventure in the bestselling tradition of Blind Man’s Bluff, it reveals previously undisclosed details about the most dangerous, daring, and decorated missions of the Cold War, earning raves from New York Times bestselling authors David Morrell, who calls it, “palpably gripping,” and James Rollins, who says, “If Tom Clancy had turned The Hunt for Red October into a nonfiction thriller, Red November might be the result.”


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Red November: Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War + Blind Mans Bluff: The Untold Story of Cold War Submarine Espionage + Secrets of the Conqueror: The Untold Story of Britain's Most Famous Submarine
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (5 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061806773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061806773
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“This history of the cold war beneath the sea reads very much like a thriller.... For serious submarine buffs, a feast.” (Booklist)

Red November is palpably gripping and packs the excitement of a real-life thriller. I felt like I was literally on-board a submarine in the middle of a hair-raising mission and on the brink of World War III.” (David Morrell, bestselling author of The Shimmer)

“If Tom Clancy had turned The Hunt for Red October into a nonfiction thriller, W. Craig Reed’s Red November might be the result…. Not to be missed!” (James Rollins, bestselling author of The Doomsday Key)

“This is an astonishing and important book…. Red November is a book that anyone with an interest in espionage or clandestine naval operations should read.” (George Friedman, author of America’s Secret War and The Next 100 Years)

Red November delivers the real life feel and fears of submariners who risked their lives to keep the peace. Smart, detailed, and highly entertaining, this is a story everyone should read.” (Steve Berry, author of The Paris Vendetta)

Red November is a terrific, real-life thriller, filled with larger than life warriors, technological wizardry, undersea games of chicken, and a civilian world perched unknowing on the brink of push-button nuclear destruction.” (Barry Eisler, author of Fault Line)

From the Back Cover

The world came close to annihilation during the Cold War—a sobering fact known to few besides the warriors engaged in the forty-six-year conflict. In this riveting new history, former U.S. Navy diver and fast-attack submariner W. Craig Reed provides a thrilling narrative of the tense underwater dramas and covert espionage operations that brought the United States and the former U.S.S.R. to the brink of nuclear war on several occasions.

Riveting and eye-opening, Red November offers an intimate look at the lives of those who participated in our country’s longest, most expensive underwater war during one of the most dangerous eras in world history. Reed provides never-before-revealed details about some of the most dramatic episodes of the secret conflict—from the harrowing underwater cat-and-mouse chase in October 1962 that almost kicked off World War III to the desperate hours when the USS Seawolf sat grounded by engine failure at the bottom of the sea during an espionage mission in Soviet waters.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underwater excitement 26 July 2010
Format:Hardcover
Red November is that rare type of book, both technically interesting and a really good read. The story of the technical development of underwater communications is just as enthralling as is the cat and mouse game played out by submarines and surface ships in the 1960s, particularly during the Cuban missile crisis. The book lays bare how close the world came to a nuclear war, and how the integrity of Russian and US submarine commanders was the critical factor in preventing the firing of nuclear armed torpedos during that crisis. A key factor in the athenticity of the story is the key role taken by the author's father and the subsequent submarine service of the author himself. I started a "casual" read of the book on a long train journey from Devon to Scotland, and became so enthralled that the 10 hour journey just "disappeared". Buy it, read it; you won't be disappointed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hunt for Red November 11 Dec 2011
By John Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Another submarine true-story book? Really? Isn't the market glutted here with good stuff already? Still, it has a catchy title and looks interesting, doesn't it. So I plonk some dollars down, and in the end have no regrets.
This is largely a personal memoir of Mr Reed and his father, with various other viewpoints (including a few old Soviet boat-drivers) appearing from time to time. The story is always told from an up-close personal perspective, with lots of dialogue recalled 30-50 years after the fact. This is both a strength and a weakness of the book: you do get a feel for the intimacy and danger of submarine life, but the bigger picture remains tantalisingly out of reach. Its not an in-depth analysis of the Cold War under the waves, but it is reminiscent of real-life Tom Clancy style action. I don't think the book was called "Red November" by accident.

We start out looking at the Cuban Missile Crisis from a number of angles, including that of Mr Reed's father as an NSA technician and some naval personnel - all up this is about 1/3rd of the book. This is really interesting and quite sobering. There is then a look at the loss of K-129 and the USS Scorpion, and the deep-ocean recovery mission Operation Jennifer/Azorian: if you believe this, then the US knows - and has known for a long time - that the Sovs sank the Scorpion, and also that Operation Jennifer was not the failure it was said to be. Still, when the book opens with a Churchill quote that "truth is so precious she must always be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies" then you never can be sure what is true and what is deep misinformation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 6 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The title implies that this a history of immense scope covering a fascinating and widespread conflict.

It isn't.

It concentrates on one small area in a way which is eventually simply irritating. The author's father was one of the men who led the way in using sound and signal intercepts to track the movement of Russian submarines. He was an unsung hero, and the author sets out to correct this. The praises for his father and the small group of men to whom he belonged are sung at great length. Interminable length. Depressingly repetitive length.

The book does not, as it claims, take you "inside" the submarines of either side, it takes you to the branch of electronic surveillance. And it leaves you there,

You realise that this a huge subject which would make rich pickings for a rewarding and fascinating book. This is not that book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthrallaing and authentic 20 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback
What is so unusual about this book is that it's a gripping personal memoir with all the immediacy and excitement of personal experience, but the adventure is set in the context of a really informative and authentic historical scene-setter. Because the author's father was a distinguished pioneer in the field of underwater listening technology, he grew up with a background of knowledge which it would be difficult for any ordinary student to learn. When he joins the navy himself, his adventures are straight out of a James Bond novel - with the added frisson that they all have the ring of absolute truth. This is a terrific book and I would recommend it highly for anyone who wants to understand what really went on during the Cold War. Outstanding.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half interesting, half waffle 20 Aug 2012
By jcs
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Cons:
* I did not need to read a whole story about the author's father's pet bear. I'm interested in submarines and the cold war, not his family history.
* I do not need to be convinced every paragraph of the bravery or heroism of people who risk their lives in secret operations. I get it, there is no need to constantly re-emphasize.
* You think your dad's work was fantastic and you're really proud of him. That's fine, but again it doesn't need constant reminders to the reader. The story could have been told in far fewer words if it didn't emphasize your father's first-person experiences so much over the overall history.

Pros:
* The 50% of this book that consists of specific accounts of cold war operations is interesting and worth reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
when the cuban missile crisis was happening i was only two and after reading this book i think i am lucky to be having my 50th very soon, what went on under the waves (who knows might still be going on today ?????) during that time brought us all right to the brink of destruction, the stories in here are full of action and bravery of the highest order, i was amazed by the wire tapping missions and the divers going out at depths of 700 !!!!! yes 700 feet to tap soviet cables, i have a new found respect for these men and what they did, this is well worth every penny 10/10
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