Stalking the Red Bear: The True Story of a U.S. Cold War Submarine's Covert Operations against the Soviet Union

By House, Jonathan M. | Military Review, July-August 2009 | Go to article overview

Stalking the Red Bear: The True Story of a U.S. Cold War Submarine's Covert Operations against the Soviet Union


House, Jonathan M., Military Review


STALKING THE RED BEAR: The True Story of a U.S. Cold War Submarine's Covert Operations Against the Soviet Union, Peter Sasgen, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, New York, 2009, 297 pages, $25.95.

Of the many "non-combat" aspects of the Cold War, few were more dangerous than submarine patrols. In addition to the inherent risks of submerged operations, Cold War submariners had to deal with the possibilities of collisions, nuclear reactor malfunctions, and (for the Soviets) liquid rocket fuel accidents. These risks were particularly acute for the U.S. attack submarines sent to prowl the northern waters of the Soviet Union collecting intelligence under the "Holystone" program. The Navy has kept such operations so tightly compartmentalized that only a handful of historical accounts have been published.

To circumvent security restrictions, Peter Sasgen, author of a number of works on World War II submarine warfare, wrote Stalking the Red Bear as fiction, presenting the experiences of an actual Sturgeon-class submarine captain under the pseudonym of "Roy Hunter" in the imaginary "USS Blackfin" Set in the early 1970s, this account purports to tell the reader both the U. …

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