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Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

by Annie Jacobsen


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The “remarkable” story of America's secret post-WWII science programs (The Boston Globe), from the New York Times bestselling author of Area 51

In the chaos following World War II, the U.S. government faced many difficult decisions, including what to do with the Third Reich's scientific minds. These were the brains behind the Nazis' once-indomitable war machine. So began Operation Paperclip, a decades-long, covert project to bring Hitler's scientists and their families to the United States.

Many of these men were accused of war crimes, and others had stood trial at Nuremberg; one was convicted of mass murder and slavery. They were also directly responsible for major advances in rocketry, medical treatments, and the U.S. space program. Was Operation Paperclip a moral outrage, or did it help America win the Cold War?

Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Paperclip family members, colleagues, and interrogators, and with access to German archival documents (including previously unseen papers made available by direct descendants of the Third Reich's ranking members), files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and dossiers discovered in government archives and at Harvard University, Annie Jacobsen follows more than a dozen German scientists through their postwar lives and into a startling, complex, nefarious, and jealously guarded government secret of the twentieth century.

In this definitive, controversial look at one of America's most strategic, and disturbing, government programs, Jacobsen shows just how dark government can get in the name of national security.

"Harrowing...How Dr. Strangelove came to America and thrived, told in graphic detail." —Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316221047
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 02/11/2014
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 217,759
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Annie Jacobsen is the author of the national bestsellers Area 51Operation Paperclip, and Surprise, Kill, Vanish, the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain, and Phenomena. She was a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Part I

Chapter 1 The War and the Weapons 3

Chapter 2 Destruction 21

Chapter 3 The Hunters and the Hunted 35

Chapter 4 Liberation 46

Chapter 5 The Captured and Their Interrogators 65

Part II

Chapter 6 Harnessing the Chariot of Destruction 87

Chapter 7 Hitler's Doctors 108

Chapter 8 Black, White, and Gray 133

Chapter 9 Hitler's Chemists 142

Chapter 10 Hired or Hanged 166

Part III

Chapter 11 The Ticking Clock 191

Chapter 12 Total War of Apocalyptic Proportions 219

Chapter 13 Science at Any Price 247

Chapter 14 Strange Judgment 266

Part IV

Chapter 15 Chemical Menace 279

Chapter 16 Headless Monster 299

Chapter 17 Hall of Mirrors 322

Chapter 18 Downfall 348

Chapter 19 Truth Serum 364

Part V

Chapter 20 In the Dark Shadows 375

Chapter 21 Limelight 393

Chapter 22 Legacy 413

Chapter 23 What Lasts? 424

Afterword 439

Acknowledgments 446

Principal Characters 451

Notes 463

Author Interviews and Bibliography 543

Index 567

Reading Group Guide 583

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