First, a great deal of credit is due to the determination and courage of authors Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix and the late Captain Peter A . Huchthausen, USN (Ret) for undertaking such a massive effort as lo document the broad sweep of naval espionage from the later days of World War II through the present day. Sadly, in many respects it may have proved to be a bridge too far.
As a participant in a small part of some of the Cold War goings-on, I noted that in their telling of a few of their 111110/d stories, the authors were very close to what is remembered as truth. However, in others that I feel qualified to have opinions on, they were far off the mark. This dichotomy detracted from the credibility of their description of other events portrayed of which I had no knowledge.
What also served to sour the book for me as a reputable source of factual information were (in spite of 33 pages of some 697 detailed reference sources, implying a work of scholarly precision) many obvious factual, technical errors and editing gaffes which included, for example, mentioning the Manhattan Project facilities at Oak Ridge, Georgia (sic); the statements that both Germany and Japan were very close to having nuclear weapons because they possessed a significant amount of uranium oxide; referring (on the same page) to the Navy’s PB4Y as both the Mercator and the Privateer; and describing a ship’s voyage from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea as through the Sea of Marmara and then the Dardanelles.
The book, at some times, takes on a bit of a Natio11al Enquirer tone such as when stating (wink, wink) that USS SCORPION (SSN 589) was lost in the Atlantic in May 1968 ” … following an explosion”, and also alluding that a Sturgeon-class SSN might have been involved in the loss of the Soviet Golf-class SSG K-129 in the Spring of 1968. To add factual insult to factual injury, the US submarine allegedly involved was further implied to be the Skate-class USS SWORDFISH (SSN 579).
In all fairness, the book has a valid purpose in exposing the completely uninitiated to the extent of not commonly known Cold War events of the last half of the 20•h century with the hope that it would stimulate their further inquiry into some of the many other event-specific sources available. Also, by far the best and thoroughly engaging parts of the book – even justifying reading by the cog11oscenti-were the several chapters documenting the personal exploits and experiences of CAPT Huchthausen himself during his many tours as an intelligence expert and attachc-including Moscow duty as a senior officer during i11teresti11g times. It would appear that he might have had enough material there to warrant a book of narrower focus, but broader impact, on just those matters. I wish he had.