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  • Operation Paperclip

  • The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America
  • Written by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

In the chaos following World War II, the US 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 US 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 20th 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.

©2014 Annie Jacobsen (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Harrowing...How Dr. Strangelove came to America and thrived, told in graphic detail." (Kirkus ReviewsI)

What listeners say about Operation Paperclip

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Best journalism in a long time!

I absolutely love this book!! ot is a must for everyone thanknypu Annie for working this and sharing the information with the world.

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Sobering reality & foreshadowing for 2020

This book makes it known there are rules for thee but not for me.

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Great Reading, Learned a Lot... But...

I love this book. There is so much I learned, and I consider myself someone who knows a lot about the Nazi side as I find it so interesting. However, the one negative thing I found in this book, is the pronunciation of some German names. Some of them are off, which just seems so jarring to me. Surprisingly, the Russian names sound correct from what I know. But this doesn't really take me out of the book, I bet 99% of people wouldn't even notice or even care, just something I noticed.

I do enjoy this book. It was great, DEFINITELY worth the listen.

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Amazing book

This is one of the best books I have listened to.
The research involved was incredible .
I could not put it down.
Excellent narration
Thank you

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Most interesting read of my life.

Finished this book and immediately started listening over again. This is a topic I have no shortage of knowledge about, and I still learned so much. It's a deep dive and still remains interesting. I can't recommend this enough. The narration is a little dry, but the subject matter is so intense. I can't get enough of the author's work. She's going to have my attention through her entire collection.

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It's a doozy

Very well written, so many characters involved. there's a lot of information to digest, but it's well laid out and is crucial in expanding your knowledge of the Third Reich. I really found it quite enjoyable, the compelling nature of the story, and recently declassified facts, helped keep my momentum going through this extended expository.

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Another great read

Absolutely incredible. Finished the book in two days because I couldn’t put it down, so much information and work going into these novels can’t help but applaud Annie.

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her best work in my opinion

extremely informative and captivating. just an awful truth, which I'm sure more will come to light. an extremely in depth look at what really went on after ww2

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An informative and worthwhile read

I enjoyed listening to this book. It's a difficult topic filled with tragic tales of the Nazi regime but Annie Jacobsen organizes the topics and chapters well and I liked how she narrates her own book.

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Difficult story / depressing, tiresome narration

Interesting, if hard to stomach story; but the depressed, neurotic?, tiresome narration sucked all life out of it. Compared with "Grey Wolf, the escape of Adolf Hitler, by Simon Dunstan, Gerrard Williams, which has a great narration and even some humor/irony in the tone. Both have interesting, related stories to tell. One, I've listened to several times; the other, I'm just about to return, not one third into the book.

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  • Jean
  • 2014-08-07

The Osenberg list

In 1945, Operation Overcast (renamed Operation Paperclip for the paperclips attached to the dossiers of the scientist) began. More than 1600 German scientist were secretly recruited to work for the United States. There was a race between the United States and the U.S.S. R. to obtain these scientists. At the time Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rabbi Steven Wise publically opposed the program.

In 1998 President Clinton signed the Nazi War Crimes disclosure Act, which pushed through the declassification of American’s intelligence records, including F.B. I., Army Intelligence and C.I.A. files of German agents, scientists and war criminals. Jacobsen accessed these documents, along with her research in various special collections, interviews with former intelligence personnel and relatives of the scientists. This makes Jacobsen’s account the most in-depth to date. The author tracked 21 of these Nazi scientists. Eight of her subjects worked directly with the upper echelon of the Nazi government. Some of these are Werner Von Braun, Hubertus Strughold, Walter Dornberger, and Arthur Rudolph, Fritz Hoffman. The author described in detail the hunt for the Nazi secret chemical and biological warfare sites and the hunt for the scientist.
Jacobsen focuses mostly on biologists, chemists and physicians. She said the rocket scientist had already been widely written about.

The author painstakingly covers the various scientist works for the Nazis; I wish she would have equally covered their work in American. We know the benefit of the work by the rocket scientist in developing the Saturn rocket. German Chemist Fritz Hoffman was assigned by the U.S. to research toxic agents for military use. He is credited with the development of Agent Orange. It was used to defoliate trees in Vietnam. Hoffman died in 1967. Other German scientist worked in the area of aeronautical medicine, research into diabetes, neurological disease and also developing equipment. I believe one of them developed the ear thermometer. The book is an achievement of investigative reporting and historical writing. I would have preferred Jacobsen provide us with enough information about the works preformed in America to help us answer the question ----was our deal with the devil worth it? The author narrated the book.

85 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 2014-03-07

This book will be read in all history classes soon

Would you consider the audio edition of Operation Paperclip to be better than the print version?

This book will be read in all history classes soon

I want to keep this short... This book is an amazing compendium of a subject that has never before been truly explored. Annie's research is amazing: aka you will be shocked and amazed and what you learn!

What did you like best about this story?

The frankness of the narrative.

What does Annie Jacobsen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her narration really emphasizes the book's main points!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The last part, when she lists all the crimes/criminals... one by one... methodically

Any additional comments?

just amazing!

25 people found this helpful

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  • farfig
  • 2019-11-12

I'm in awe of the research

This is my second Annie Jacobsen audiobook. Operation Paperclip went by so fast. I am blown away by how very thorough she was in her research. It must have taken her many years to collect and discover everything. There is no doubt it's a monumental work. And after having compiled all of that data, the way she lays it out and tells the story was mesmerizing for me. I am equally impressed with the level of detail she invested in the correct German and Russian pronunciations of the names of people and places. I love that she is the narrator. No one could tell this story as well. I highly recommend this book.

11 people found this helpful

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  • VC
  • 2018-06-21

The Devil You Know

Very interesting book and as always, extremely well researched by the Autor. Many parts will sadden you and many will also anger you, but in the end you have to ask yourself if this was a better option than letting these Nazis work for other countries and what would those results have been.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Joel
  • 2016-07-22

Eye Opening Narrative of Where the Nazis Went

this was a great book following where some of the top scientist and engineers of the Nazi scientist and engineers went after the war; being absorbed into the USA and the USSR sometimes to continue their work.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Russ
  • 2016-07-17

Outstanding

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Outstanding. A must read. I am patriotic, 110% American but this is an eye opener

6 people found this helpful

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  • sixtiesdad
  • 2016-06-29

A factual story told with an agenda

Would you try another book from Annie Jacobsen and/or Annie Jacobsen?

Absolutely.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I think that most readers are able to see for themselves that the Paperclip scientists were Nazis, and that the United States Government was hypocritical to have used them as we did (anybody wish that the Russians got them all)? We don't need your conscience, Annie: Just your typical good research and writing.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Annie Jacobsen?

Absolutely. More please!

Could you see Operation Paperclip being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Maybe.

Any additional comments?

None

5 people found this helpful

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  • SAMA
  • 2014-06-17

Interesting study, dry delivery

Some information presented in this book have more disturbing implications than others, and some actually outline the arguably positive outcomes of this arrangement. It, however, bridges the gap after the fall of the Nazis and the transformation of technological and military advancements in the West.

8 people found this helpful

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  • sharon
  • 2014-03-15

Exposure of the Systematic stonewalling of facts

A very interesting documentation of Operation Paperclip and what lies hidden behind the American Scientist Programs in post war America. The systematic cover-up of facts that dozens if not hundreds of Americans took part in , to bring NAZI WAR CRIMINALS to America to further our Space and Chemical Weapons Programs .
How some in the Military whitewashed the Nazi pasts of dozens of Doctors and Scientists allowing them to live the "American Dream", become respected members of the space pioneer elite and escape punishment for their atrocities during WW2.
The narration (by the author)was not as good as a professional but a fascinating story.

12 people found this helpful

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  • oscar morante
  • 2020-12-16

Good info but biased, moralistc, and oversimplifie

Does not take into consideration that war and politics are amoral and ultra nuanced. This type of situationsare not simple.

3 people found this helpful