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Extended Audio Sample Blind Mans Bluff: The Untold True Story of American Submar Audiobook, by Sherry Sontag Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00019736842105 out of 54.00019736842105 out of 54.00019736842105 out of 54.00019736842105 out of 54.00019736842105 out of 5 4.00 (1,672 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, Annette Lawrence Drew Narrator: Tony Roberts Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9780061229282
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No espionage missions have been kept more secret than those involving American submarines. Now, Blind Man's Bluff shows for the first time how the Navy sent submarines wired with self-destruct charges into the heart of Soviet seas to tap crucial underwater telephone cables. It unveils how the Navy's own negligence might have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion, a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, thirty years ago. It tells the complete story of the audacious attempt to steal a Soviet submarine with the help of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and how it was doomed from the start. And it reveals how the Navy used the comforting notion of deep sea rescue vehicles to hide operations that were more James Bond than Jacques Cousteau.

Blind Man's Bluff contains an unforgettable array of characters, including the cowboy sub commander who brazenly outraced torpedoes and couldn't resist sneaking up to within feet of unaware enemy subs. It takes us inside clandestine Washington meetings where top submarine captains briefed presidents and where the espionage war was planned one sub and one dangerous encounter at a time. Stretching from the years immediately after World War II to the present-day operations of the Clinton Administration, it is an epic story of daring and deception. A magnificent achievement in investigative reporting, it feels like a spy thriller, but with one important difference'everything in it is true.

Read by Tony Roberts.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compelling study of magnificent men and spying machines…Thrilling…Sontag and Drew introduce us to one of the least know and most harrowing battlefields of the superpower conflict.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Vividly told, impressively documented, and persuasively argued…Honors must go to the steel-nerved captains and crews whose dangerous and daring exploits are given an unparalleled and sometimes hair-raising rendition.”

    New York Times

  • “Brilliant…Full of hair-raising stories of men in peril under the sea.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A tale that has the Navy refusing to comment and retired submariners rejoicing that their story is finally being told…Espionage missions described in this book are among the most sensitive and secret intelligence operations of the Cold War. Most have never been described in detail, if at all, and the Navy to this day refuses to acknowledge them publicly.”

    Associated Press

  • “In an unusually successful amalgam, veteran journalists Sontag and Christopher Drew combine a gripping story with admirable research to relate previously unknown information…depicts what was arguably the most successful long-term, large-scale intelligence operation in American history.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Enthralling real-life stories of American submarine spying that read as if torn from the pages of The Hunt for Red October, full of high-tech high-jinks and human drama.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Ulissey | 2/16/2014

    " Great history of submarine espionage! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chelsea allen | 2/11/2014

    " A great book that has thrills at every turn!!!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon | 1/29/2014

    " There is nothing more suspenseful than a submarine tale! This one combines the tension of submarine warefare with the ultra secret world of cold war intelligence collection in a most unusual way. I loved it. Recommend to all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristi Willard | 1/29/2014

    " One of my all-time favorite books. A little spying, intrigue, mechanics, and huge personalities: all wrapped up in well-researched truth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ab | 1/23/2014

    " some very cool stories about cold war submariners "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Morrow | 1/22/2014

    " This covered parts of the cold war that aren't obvious, nor (until the book) really discussed outside of the intel community. Some really cool and dangerous/daring feats. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica Peinado | 1/7/2014

    " Very interesting book. It take you into the juicy details of the cold war and force you to rethink sides... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy | 11/28/2013

    " This is a true story and in fact, the nuclear submarine my uncle was on at the time is part of the story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert Hubbard | 11/7/2013

    " Interesting but not sure if I enjoyed it more or less being a submariner. I could relate to some of the stories of the crews but some of of stories of the missions weren't as much of a shock. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Noah | 8/31/2013

    " Considering the topic, I should have loved this book, but the pacing felt totally off. Every time it started to draw me in, Sontag got mired in too many of the wrong details and the momentum fizzled out. Not recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kamas Kirian | 8/30/2013

    " A really good and surprising look at what our navy can do. I really enjoyed this book, even if it came off a little like propaganda at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candie | 7/31/2013

    " A fascinating tale of submarines and the Cold War. I found myself holding my breath almost the entire book, I had to keep reminding myself I can take a big breath of clean air. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marianne | 7/30/2013

    " For every 5 good pages there were 60 stinky pages! Plus it took me 4 weeks to finish 300 pages! What????!!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 7/20/2013

    " Fascinating account of the Submarine missions during the Cold War. Previously classified documents reveal some thrilling espionage, disasters and recoveries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 5/20/2013

    " This is a very well written account about our submarine forces successes and failures in the Cold War. Much of this information was very hard to find at the time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kalin | 3/4/2013

    " Really, this is a set of untold stories (plural). This book is very informative, listing a series of missions, mishaps, and adventures. This is not a book of politics, but it does evoke the sensitivity of the cold war. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aaron Sharp | 7/16/2012

    " A good book and some interesting history that I had never read before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles Melendez | 6/14/2012

    " I'm not too sure how this one ended up in my mailbox, but I am glad I got it. Every page chronicles real life events that transpired in the cold war. Many events were at the time were top secret and any information relating to it was regarded as completely confidential. It is a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Landon | 8/28/2011

    " A very good read. It is really nice to get an inside look on what the submarines did during the cold war. Interesting how with the cold war the naval technology grew and advanced so quickly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Logcabin | 6/16/2011

    " Fabulous must read for those interested in submarine "warfare". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 4/26/2011

    " Moderately interesting. Might be more interesting to a non ex submariner. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Noah | 4/3/2011

    " Considering the topic, I should have loved this book, but the pacing felt totally off. Every time it started to draw me in, Sontag got mired in too many of the wrong details and the momentum fizzled out. Not recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 3/21/2011

    " True stories about naval submarines. Thought the book would read like a technical book, but the book reads like a novel and held my attention. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 3/12/2011

    " Reads like fiction, even though it's non-fiction. Super fascinating -- and it seems particularly incredible that all of these activities were classified and not available to the public because they're extraordinary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 2/25/2011

    " This covered parts of the cold war that aren't obvious, nor (until the book) really discussed outside of the intel community. Some really cool and dangerous/daring feats. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 2/21/2011

    " Great book! Another that I read every two to three years. Some of the amazing things our military has done over the years trying to keep us safe. I think Tom Clancy got a lot of his ideas for his novels from the events explained in this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 2/12/2011

    " fascinating book - I have read it three times since I bought it many years ago. The stories are just amazing, and a must read for anyone who is a fan of the cold war (not like, you enjoyed the cold war, but that you enjoy reading true spy stories.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Landon | 1/23/2011

    " A very good read. It is really nice to get an inside look on what the submarines did during the cold war. Interesting how with the cold war the naval technology grew and advanced so quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 9/27/2010

    " Great history of submarine espionage! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 9/20/2010

    " Very interesting book. It take you into the juicy details of the cold war and force you to rethink sides... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marianne | 6/25/2010

    " For every 5 good pages there were 60 stinky pages! Plus it took me 4 weeks to finish 300 pages! What????!!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cordell | 6/15/2010

    " About half way through. Very interesting so far. Its starting to get a little slower now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 5/27/2010

    " I found this piece of nonfiction fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 5/14/2010

    " OK, a bit slow in the early days. Near the end with the more current subs, it was better.
    "

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About the Author

Sherry Sontag is an investigative journalist who, before turning to her book Blind Man’s Bluff, now a New York Times bestseller, was a staff writer for the National Law Journal. While there, she wrote about the Soviet Union, international affairs, and domestic scandals in securities and banking. Prior to that, she wrote for the New York Times. A lifelong resident of New York, she has degrees from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Barnard College.

About the Narrator

Tony Roberts is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. He has had roles in numerous films, many by Woody Allen, as well as his starring roles on Broadway in Arsenic and Old Lace; Promises, Promises; and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.