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  • Spies of the Deep

  • The Untold Truth About the Most Terrifying Incident in Submarine Naval History and How Putin Used the Tragedy to Ignite a New Cold War
  • By: W. Craig Reed
  • Narrated by: Paul Woodson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Summary

A decade after the Cold War, a violent explosion sent the Russian submarine Kursk to the bottom of the Barents Sea. The Russians claimed an outdated torpedo caused the incident and refused help from the West while 23 survivors died before they could be rescued. When Russian naval officers revealed evidence of a collision with a US spy sub, Vladimir Putin squelched the allegations and fired the officers. In Spies of the Deep, W. Craig Reed shatters the lies told by both Russian and US officials and exposes several shocking truths. Included are never-before-revealed facts and firsthand accounts from deep-sea rescue divers, US submariners, government officials, Russian naval officers, and expert witnesses. Not to mention unveiled evidence of a secret deal between Putin and US President Bill Clinton to avert a nuclear war. Discover how the Kursk propelled Putin to power and how he used its demise to muzzle oligarchs, wrest control of energy firms, rebuild Russia's military, and dominate Arctic resources and sea routes. 

Spies of the Deep explores how the Kursk incident will be remembered as a pivotal historical event that propelled the world's superpowers into another, far more dangerous Cold War, sparked conflicts in the Arctic, and fueled a resource war that could create an economic nightmare not seen since the Great Depression.

©2020 W. Craig Reed (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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    4 out of 5 stars

Smoke Without Any Real Fire

I had recently read the Robert Moore book on the Kursk disaster and agreed with his conclusions regarding the causes of the tragedy. However, there are several conspiracy theories going around and this book, Spies of The Deep, covered one of those, the collision with a U.S submarine theory. Looking to see if there was anything compelling presented in this book to support that theory, I decided to purchase it. I will try to "see the other side" as it were by looking into the details of the conspiracy theory and determine if there's anything of merit there before I dismiss it outright.

Oddly, Spies of The Deep isn't just a book about the kursk disaster. It's actually split into three distinct but related topics. The first part of this book covers a brief history of the Cold War with respect the submarine service. It brilliantly details incidents that I saw covered in the book: Blind Man's Bluff, but does it better in my view. W. Craig Reed's writing style lends itself superbly to the subject matter, portraying the tension, danger and secretive nature of clandestine missions against the Soviet Union. As I read these accounts, including one personally experience by the author, I thought the author would be the perfect candidate to lend his writing talents to the realm of fictional Cold War thrillers in a similar vein to Tom Clancy. it turns out my take on his prose skills was correct when I later discovered he does indeed write fiction too. it's a real shame Audible doesn't appear to have the titles "Red November" and "Status 6" available.

The middle section of this book deals with the Kursk incident, but although written extremely well, there really isn't anything of any substance at all to back up his claims regarding a collision as the cause of the Kursk's demise. So little actual "evidence" is presented here, that it almost felt as if the claim of a collision was an afterthought rather than a solid theory based on far more than the weakest of circumstantial evidence. I was really looking forward to learning something Earth shattering here, something with real substance that would bolster the collision theory, even make it highly probable. Alas, no, there really isn't. W. Craig Reed builds us slowly up to some kind of major reveal here to support his contention, then it's barely a damp squib that his case rests on. Crew members pointing at an extended bow plane on the Toledo as it docked in Faslane, some replacement part connected with it and a corrected reason given for the USS Memphis, the second U.S submarine monitoring the Kursk exercise that day, when pulling into Bergen, Norway. Oh, and the fact that Memphis's logs for the year 2000 are not in the public domain when others are. Given Memphis was privy to the Kursk's sinking by nature of its proximity, I suspect the withholding of those logs to be par for the course when such dire disasters occur on the world stage. So, the reasons I have given are all that the collision theory is built around.

I'm no naval military expert, but the author, a former Cold War submariner himself, seems to suggest that one of the U.S subs that fateful day, the Toledo, got too close and bumped the kursk which resulted in damage to a torpedo tube that prevented a Shkval rocket torpedo to launch correctly. I cannot see any U.S submarine getting anywhere close enough to do this during a military exercise. To me, maintaining a safe stand-off observation range given that ordnance is being launched from the observed submarine makes sense. Who'd risk their own boat being struck by a fired torpedo during a training exercise? Sure, collisions did occur during trailing operations in the Cold War, but I have no knowledge of such a thing occurring when the target of your surveillance is firing weapons as part of an exercise.

Further, had the crew of the Kursk realized they'd been struck by a prowling U.S sub, it beggars belief they'd not cancel torpedo firing operations until complete and thorough checks were done on the boat to ensure there was no damage.

The final part of this book goes into the geopolitical future conflicts that possession of Arctic resources will possibly trigger. It paints a very grim picture of how the ambitions of both Russia and China will hoard natural gas, oil and mineral resources from Arctic regions with those countries claiming territorial rights to massive swathes of those regions. It makes for very depressing and rather frightening reading I must say.

Onn a lighter note, both the prose style of the author combined with the excellent narration by Paul Woodson make for a well written and superbly read book. I've never heard Paul Woodson before, but he's already added to my list of top narrators here on Audible with his easy on the ear voice and compelling delivery.

Should you get this book then? Well, if, like me, you're "into submarines", then I'd say a firm yes. There is stuff mentioned here during the Cold War era I didn't see covered in the book Blind Man's Bluff (so often cited as the definitive source for such Cold War clandestine operations) and I had to wonder if the author was cleared to talk in such detail on those matters. However, if this book aims to prove that the collision theory was to blame for the ultimate destruction of the Kursk, then I'd say there is really nothing here to convince me at all.

Still, Craig's compelling writing and the excellent narration make this an interesting read.


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A great read

Read this and take note ..... It may not end in a nuclear Armageddon.....but then......

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An Excellent Read - especially at this moment of time !

Very in depth and well researched. The conclusion is frighteningly close to events in Europe today.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, my first ever audible book!

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  • PopGoesWeasel
  • 13-07-21

Feeble Attempt to Frighten

Interesting until the leap from the submarine story to the author's imaginative doomsday scenarios.

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  • Petey Pete Pete
  • 21-08-21

Excellent book

Very informative of today's global situation. learn the truth about the Kursk and its importance.