Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines That Fought the Cold War

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Of all the secrets the Soviet Union kept, none were more closely guarded than those involving their submarines. Now, for the first time, here is the complete, dramatic story of the Soviet side of these secretive operations during the Cold War. Drawing on newly available archives, as well as interviews with a dozen former Soviet commanders-access never before granted to Western researchers- this gripping narrative shows that confrontations between nuclear-armed subs were far more dangerous than ever thought. With ...
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Overview

Of all the secrets the Soviet Union kept, none were more closely guarded than those involving their submarines. Now, for the first time, here is the complete, dramatic story of the Soviet side of these secretive operations during the Cold War. Drawing on newly available archives, as well as interviews with a dozen former Soviet commanders-access never before granted to Western researchers- this gripping narrative shows that confrontations between nuclear-armed subs were far more dangerous than ever thought. With 16 pages of never-before-seen photos, Rising Tide sheds new light on the darkest secrets of the Cold War.

Author Biography: Gary E. Weir is a Historian of Science and Technology at the U.S. Naval Historical Center, and Adjunct Professor of History, University of Maryland.

Walter J. Boyne, former director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1974 as a Colonel. He is a New York Times bestselling author.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
To students of the Cold War, and especially to the US sailors who confronted them, the Soviet Union's huge submarine force was always a specter in the night. Their undersea fleet had been negligible during WW II, and until the mid 1960s it was always noisy and somewhat ramshackle—good enough boats, perhaps, but borderline obsolescent and often limited in their capabilities. Still, they were available in enormous numbers. This reviewer used to take part in some of the confrontations at sea during that period, and even then the sham battles were not all one-sided. By the late 1960s, however, the situation had become much darker. The Soviets began ambitious research programs and their submarine technology drew ahead even as the Americans diverted their attention to Vietnam. Titanium submarine hulls, a luxury the US Navy had never attained, allowed Russian subs to operate at incredible depths and their nuclear reactors became disturbingly quiet. Soviet Alpha-class subs were a deadly threat to our deterrent forces even as their twin-hulled "boomer" missile ships took to the seas. Everything considered, the ultimate disintegration of the Soviet system was a good thing for everyone. The Free World learned a great deal about the Soviet Navy during the years that followed, and a host of disturbing facts came to light. As advanced as the equipment might have been, the training and operation of their sleek submarines were almost Czarist in nature. Ill-trained and resentful sailors, ill-treated officers held in little esteem, and corrupt shipyards often spelled disaster—the number of accidents and tragedies that the Soviet nuclear fleet suffered during the Cold War was absolutely horrific.Most frightening of all were the ill-designed and ill-maintained nuclear reactors and their fuel. Authors Gary Weir and Walter Boyne spent a lot of time interviewing ex-Soviet underseas officers, admirals, and common sailors for this book. From them, they have assembled a disturbing picture of a military structure that valued political loyalty above technical ability, and provided reluctant draftees with only makeshift training, in sharp contrast to the American navy's painstaking approach to maritime competence. This book nicely balances the technical story with the social and political forces at the heart of the Soviets' undersea forces. Enough hair-raising stories of undersea warfare are interspersed with this to satisfy the most bloodthirsty YA readers. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Penguin, New American Library, 354p. illus. notes. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Raymond Puffer, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451213013
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2008

    A Must Read!!

    Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines that Fought the Cold War. Weir, Gary E. and Boyne, Walter J., New York Basic Books, 2003. pp. 354. Rising Tide presents a unique view on the Soviet submarine service that previously has not been viewed before. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, all records both classified and declassified had been off-limits to westerners. Now with the recently opened archives in the Kremlin, both Weir and Boyne give their expertise and insight into how the Cold War was fought and viewed from the perspective of the Soviet submariner. More importantly, the authors illustrate not only the superior craft in which the Russian Navy has developed over the course of four hundred years, but how they did it with sub-standard equipment and training that continues well into the twenty-first century. Essentially the authors bring to light the three major battles with which the Soviet submariner had to contend with, first the potential conflict of the Cold War versus the American and British Royal navies. Second, the ¿incredibly mendacious and arbitrary Soviet and civil bureaucracy¿ (pp.3). Third, the ¿unwarranted and unnecessary dangers¿ they (the sailors) were placed in by one man, Admiral Sergei G. Gorshkov, to achieve and fulfill not only his, but the state¿s goals as well (pp.3). The last one is a key component because Admiral Gorshkov¿s authority was given to him in 1956 by Nikita Khrushchev and didn¿t end until 1985. He was and is considered to be the father of the modern Soviet navy. Rising Tide begins with a very thorough analysis on Russian naval history to display the greatness that was once achieved starting at Peter the Great through Nicholas II. However, the one common denominator that is present throughout Weir and Boyne¿s writing is that Russia¿s desire to build its Navy quickly is also the very reason for its eventual decline. The first chronological instance of this instance isn¿t mentioned until pp. 267 ¿ 268, when discussion of the death of Peter the Great is brought up. Weir and Boyne could argue that Peter II could be to blame for the process that was to haunt the Russians for centuries to come. Peter II ordered the navy ¿to stay in port unless specifically ordered it to sea¿, whereas before the Russian navy had an ongoing presence that helped to maintain the balance of power against the Swedes, British and Turks (pp.267-268). Additionally, Weir and Boyne bring to light the materials the ships were constructed out of, the Russian vessels of the time were built out of ¿fir rather than oak¿ and the lack of maintenance on them lead to the rapid deterioration of the ships and eventually the navy (pp.267-268). Fast-forward a couple of hundred years and once again, the lack of quality and maintenance within the Russian naval community is brought to light. However one of the more positive aspects of this book is brought about, the skill of seamanship that is crafted by the Soviet submariners to achieve their mission. Soviet sailors learned to develop their craft with the one of the most sub-standard fleets in the world. One of the first such cases documented on failed maintenance is the movement of submarines across the country in the early 1900¿s via the trans-Siberian Railroad to Vladivostok. The ¿jolting¿ over the more than 5,000 miles of railroad caused the nuts and bolts to loosen and damaged other components as well. Upon arrival, the submarine would be assembled and launched, however these components were prone to corrosion from sea water that was let in through the loosened nuts and bolts. This would in turn lead to the eventual sinking of the boat (pp.11). The next instance of this poor maintenance program as well as the bureaucracy involved with it is revealed during the Cuban Missile crisis. ¿The Soviet naval high command had decided to establish a submarine base on the island of Cuba¿ and dispatched four submarines to proceed with the cargo ships carrying nucl

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2004

    Great Book..Interesting look on the other side

    Just wanted to say I found this book very interesting. It tells the sub stories with information gleaned from Russian navy officers. The book has chapters on the Russian subs, the Kursk disaster and others, and info about subs in the Cuban missile crisis.

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