Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage

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Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage
AuthorSherry Sontag and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew
CountryUnited States
SubjectCold War submarine history
Publication date
November 1998
Media typehardback Paperback =1999, 2000

Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage (ISBN 0-06-103004-X) by Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, and Annette Lawrence Drew, published in 1998 by Public Affairs Press, is a non-fiction book about U.S. Navy submarine operations during the Cold War. Several operations are described in the book, such as the use of USS Parche to tap Soviet undersea communications cables and USS Halibut to do the same in Operation Ivy Bells.[1]

The book also contains an extensive list of collisions between Western and Soviet submarines and U.S. submarine awards.

There is a footnote on page 254 of the Perrenial paperback edition that reads "*Naval Intelligence began to notice that the Soviets seemed to be experimenting with the idea of hiding their missile subs under the ice in 1979. USS Gurnard (SSN-662), under the command of Henry G. Chiles Jr., and USS Drum (SSN-677) helped set off a second, and much more difficult, era of trailings that year, following Soviet subs which seemed to be testing how well they could operate under ice floes. For the Soviets, a crucial moment came in the summer of 1981, when Captain Leonid Kuversky drove his Delta SSBN into the desolate Arctic Ocean to see if he could manage to rise up from the ice and calculate a workable trajectory for his sub's sixteen ballistic missiles. Kuversky succeeded beyond all expectations...."

Combined with the Appendix B recounting of A Lethal Beginning (p. 316), occurring in 1961, it appears that the movie K-19: The Widowmaker is a conflation of these episodes.

An interesting and entertaining novel set in the early part of the Cold War touching on some of the submarine issues is The Brink, by Daniel V. Gallery, R. Adm. (Ret.), whose crew captured the U-505 now displayed in Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.


  1. ^ Naftali, Timothy (December 20, 1998). "The Sonar War". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Polmar, Norman (2001). "Book Review: Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 57 (5): 66. doi:10.1080/00963402.2001.11460496.