All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion

All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion

by Kenneth Sewell, Jerome Preisler
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All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion by Kenneth Sewell, Jerome Preisler

Forty years ago, in May 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion sank in mysterious circumstances with a loss of ninety-nine lives. The tragedy occurred during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it followed by only weeks the sinking of a Soviet sub near Hawaii. Now in All Hands Down, drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews, many with exclusive sources in the naval and intelligence communities, as well as recently declassified United States and Soviet intelligence files, Kenneth Sewell and Jerome Preisler explain what really happened to Scorpion.

In January 1968, a U.S. intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, was seized by North Korea. Among other items, the North Koreans confiscated a valuable cryptographic unit that was capable of deciphering the Navy's top-secret codes. Unknown to the Navy, a traitor named John Walker had begun supplying the Navy's codes to the KGB. Once the KGB acquired the crypto unit from the North Koreans, the Russians were able to read highly classified naval communications.

In March, a Soviet sub, K-129, mysteriously sank near Hawaii, hundreds of miles from its normal station in the Pacific. Soviet naval leaders mistakenly believed that a U.S. submarine was to blame for the loss, and they planned revenge. A trap was set: several Soviet vessels were gathered in the Atlantic, acting suspiciously. It would be only a matter of time before a U.S. sub was sent to investigate. That sub was Scorpion. Using the top-secret codes and the deciphering machine, the Soviets could intercept and decode communication between the Navy and Scorpion, the final element in carrying out the planned attack.

All Hands Down shows how the Soviet plan was executed and explains why the truth of the attack has been officially denied for forty years. Sewell and Preisler debunk various official explanations for the tragedy and bring to life the personal stories of some of the men who were lost when Scorpion went to the bottom. This true story, finally told after exhaustive research, is more exciting than any novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743298018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 02/23/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 579,792
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kenneth R. Sewell is a nuclear engineer and a U.S. Navy veteran who spent five years aboard the USS Parche, a fast attack submarine that was the Navy's most decorated ship. Parche conducted a number of special operations, some of which were revealed in Blind Man's Bluff. Since leaving the Navy, Mr. Sewell has held both Department of Defense and Department of Energy security clearances. In researching Red Star Rogue, Mr. Sewell had access to recently declassified intelligence files in the U.S. and Soviet military archives that were opened after 1991, among other sources. A New York Times bestseller, Red Star Rogue has been optioned for film by Warner Brothers.

Jerome Preisler is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Tom Clancy's Power Plays series. He is also a baseball commentator whose work appears on the New York Yankees' YES Network Online.

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All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
MFowler More than 1 year ago
On or about May 22, 1968, the nuclear submarine USS Scorpion sank about 400 miles southwest of the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with the loss of 99 officers and crew. And that is about the only thing about her loss that is not in dispute. In the intervening 40 years a number of theories about what sank the Scorpion have gained a following, each supported to a greater or lesser degree by its own stack of "evidence." Sewell and Preisler have a well-researched stack of evidence that they think makes a compelling case pointing to a single conclusion - in a fit of Cold War rage, the Soviet Union deliberately sank the Scorpion to get even for what the Soviet's mistakenly believed was America's sinking of one of their submarines a few months previously. While Sewell and Preisler do a good job of describing the almost-but-not-quite state of warfare that characterized the Cold War, and bring to life the men on the doomed boat, and their wives and families at home, in the end there is a little too much reliance on leaps of faith to make "the Soviets did it" plot work instead of logic, and sources that want to remain anonymous instead of documented evidence. There is also the level of technical expertise to consider in 1968. When the Scorpion went missing, the US spent six months looking for it - but found it and photographed it with its deep submergence vehicles. When the Soviets lost their nuclear sub in the Pacific (that supposedly sparked the Scorpion's ambush), not only could they not find it, the Americans did find it and brought part of it to the surface. For a different take on what may have happened to the Scorpion, try Death of the Thresher by Norman Polmar, the updated version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On several occaisios during my time in the submarine service, I was amazed at stories told by sonarmen and radiomen who took part in the search for USS Scorpion. Some of the stories that I had passed off as scuttlebutt were validated by this book. Well researched and well written, the story line procedes in a coherent and cohesive manner. This book provides a very plausible explanation of the facts and politics surrounding the sinking of the Scorpion. A work worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have read 'Scorpion Down', this book is absolutly necessary. The rest of the story about the sinking of Scorpion. Well written. Could not put book down.
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