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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
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The explosive, dark secrets behind America's post-WWII science programs from the author of the New York Times best seller Area 51.

In the chaos following WWII, some of the greatest spoils of Germany's resources were the Third Reich's scientific minds. The U.S. government secretly decided that the value of these former Nazis' knowledge outweighed their crimes and began a covert operation code-named Paperclip to allow them to work in the U.S. without the public's full knowledge. Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Paperclip family members, colleagues, and interrogators, and with access to German archival documents (including papers made available to her by direct descendants of the Third Reich's ranking members), files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and lost dossiers discovered at the National Archives and Harvard University, Annie Jacobsen follows more than a dozen German scientists through their postwar lives and into one of the most complex, nefarious, and jealously guarded government secrets of the 20th century.

©2014 Annie Jacobsen (P)2014 Hachette Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars

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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Incredibly fascinating

Thoroughly enjoyed this book’s record of history. The information shared in it is riveting. You’ll love this book if you love history and close calls

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  • sd
  • 2019-07-17

Almost 20 hrs of amazingly researched information

This book will test your limit for tolerance of good over evil. It can be a heavy read and hard at times to keep track of all the people. Much of it was visualised in my head , having recently walked the many roads and landmarks and listened to the history of the Third Reich and Russian army sites through Europe including Munich , Berlin , Nuremberg , Vienna and Budapest and the concentration camp at Dachau.
The more information that comes to light and the more I read and see surrounding twentieth century European history, the more I shake my head. We are only just starting to scratch the surface. Sadly there seems to be no limit to the evil and lack of conscience in some members of the human race in every country.


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  • JAH
  • 2019-05-25

excellent audiobook

listened to it a week. loved every second of it. great journalism, writing and narration. will be listening to her other books

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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.

38 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!

16 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.

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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

3 people found this helpful

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  • stpal001
  • 2014-05-16

The truth is out there

What made the experience of listening to Operation Paperclip the most enjoyable?

Outstanding research packed with newly declassified material. I thought I understood Operation Paperclip very well. I did not know it at all. But I do now.

6 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.

5 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.

6 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.

1 person 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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carroll
  • 2015-04-20

A great narrative of what follows wars....

While I can tell the author was aghast at what she uncovered, this is an amazing tale of reaping the scientific experience of one foe to ready America for a next, larger foe. While many knew of Wernher von Braun's route to America & NASA, the tale of so many other key innovators was unreported since the 1960's. Well worth the listen!

3 people found this helpful