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From the Publisher* In the fall of 1962, Huchthausen (Hostile Waters) was a junior navy officer on the USS Blandy, a Forrest Sherman class destroyer; he and his fellow crew members were center stage during the Cuban missile crisis as they confronted Soviet submarines and merchant ships off the coast of Cuba. The submarines were equipped with nuclear-tipped torpedoes and had been given secret orders to use those new and virtually untested weapons if American forces attacked them or if American submarine-hunting destroyers forced them to surface. That set of circumstances came very close to leading to an exchange of tactical nuclear weapons-an event that likely would have sparked nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Huchthausen details the story of what happened in those waters in this riveting account, based on his own experience and extensive interviews he conducted with former Soviet submariners and his former shipmates. Through reconstructed dialogue (and plenty of naval technospeak), he reveals that nuclear war was averted primarily by the heroic actions of three of the players in the high seas drama: Comdr. Edward G. Kelley, the Blandy's quixotic but experienced commanding officer; Capt. Nikolai Shumkov, who courageously and conscientiously commanded one of the four Soviet subs in Cuban waters; and Rear Adm. Leonid F. Rybalko, another veteran naval officer who, from his base in Moscow, countermanded dangerous orders from his superiors and paved the way for a peaceful denouement of the tense confrontation at sea. Nicely balanced between operational and analytical material, this account should satisfy action-seeking lay readers and buffs. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly, September 9, 2002)
Most accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 18-31, 1962), from Robert Kennedy's Thirteen Days to Robert Weisbrot's Maximum Danger and The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, recount the harrowing diplomatic parrying betwetn President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev to avoid nuclear war. Huchthausen (HostileWaters) tells the lesser-known but no less frightening story of the Soviet and U.S. sailors sent to Cuba to be the nuclear tripwire. The author was a young ensign aboard the USS Blandy, assigned to stop Soviet ships from delivering weapons to Cuba and to make sure that the missiles were ultimately removed. Much of the book is about Operation Anadyr, the Soviet deployment of missiles and troops to Cuba. Riveting details include the hazards of Soviet submarine travel-which entailed dangerous storms, lack of food and fresh water, loss of oxygen, and inescapable diesel fumes-and how nuclear war was narrowly avoided by the quick thinking of U.S. and Soviet captains. Unlike the Americans, the Soviet officers had prior authorization to launch nuclear-tipped missiles from their submarines. The book is tinged with humorous anecdotes, and Huchthausen succeeds admirably in portraying sympathetically the sailors who would have been the first to die if war had been declared. This book will appeal to history buffs and to fans of espionage fiction.
Highly recommended for public libraries. —Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib.; King of Prussia, PA (Library Journa, September 15, 2002)
In October 1962, the Cold War became about as hot as it would get, as the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war.
The spark was the Cuban missile crisis, which is at the core of Peter A. Huchthausen's excellent book, "October Fury."
Huchthausen was a participant. He was a junior officer aboard the destroyer USS Blandy, which had been part of the U.S. Navy blockade of Cuba and had pursued one of four Soviet submarines sent to the region.
His recollections, told 40 years later, clearly and engagingly, reflect the young officer's confidence and enthusiasm — and even glee — during his adventure.
Trouble began when the Soviets attempted to establish