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Publisher's Summary

Why did the US intelligence services fail so spectacularly to know about the Soviet Union's nuclear capabilities following World War II? As Vince Houghton, historian and curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, shows us, that disastrous failure came just a few years after the Manhattan Project's intelligence team had penetrated the Third Reich and knew every detail of the Nazi's plan for an atomic bomb. What changed and what went wrong?

Houghton's delightful retelling of this fascinating case of American spy ineffectiveness in the then new field of scientific intelligence provides us with a new look at the early years of the Cold War. During that time, scientific intelligence quickly grew to become a significant portion of the CIA budget as it struggled to contend with the incredible advance in weapons and other scientific discoveries immediately after World War II. As Houghton shows, the abilities of the Soviet Union's scientists, its research facilities and laboratories, and its educational system became a key consideration for the CIA in assessing the threat level of its most potent foe. Sadly, for the CIA, scientific intelligence was extremely difficult to do well. For when the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, no one in the American intelligence services saw it coming.

©2019 Vince Houghton (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • peter
  • 2020-12-20

Misleading title

There are no spies in this book that I could find but lots of tedious details such as the name and rank of anyone who appears even tangentially in the narrative. The narrative itself could have and should have been interesting and even fascinating but suffocated beneath poorly evaluated data without any apparent sense of what makes a story a story. Needs editing.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JT
  • 2020-11-22

Good account of an underappreciated mission

This is a solid telling of the nuclear espionage program of the US during WWII. It is more akin to a textbook in it's storytelling than some of the similar spy books of the era. If you're interested in this time period, it has some great information.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • John J. Moore
  • 2021-01-14

Boring

The story was so full of details that it was a real struggle to get through. Large sections of the books just seemed like someone was reading a list in the most boring way possible. There wasn’t even any interesting stories about what happened. It is the driest book I’ve ever read. This is a subject I am very interested in and I couldn’t make it all the way to the end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jerome m.
  • 2020-12-14

Excellent Listen

A lot of incredible, and dangerous, science was conducted by so many people during WWII.