18.6.08

TIT FOR TAT. I've previously reviewed books about the very real Cold War conflict under the sea. In one such review, I wrote,
The official explanation for K-129's loss depends on who one asks. The authors of Rogue suggest that escorts of a Soviet fleet exercise later detected and sank SSN-589 Scorpion in retaliation for the sinking of K-129 by collision with SSN-579 Swordfish. As the book alludes to highly placed anonymous sources and documents not yet declassified, it's up to the reader to decide.
That's precisely what All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion argues, which makes for a pretty brief Book Review No. 18, inasmuch as the subtitle, as well as the suggestion in Red Star Rogue, tell the main story. Turncoat naval officer John Walker gets an assist helping a Sov fleet locate Scorpion to sink it. Maritime archaeologist Robert Ballard turns out to have been busy locating the sunken Scorpion, using searches for Titanic as cover. The Navy's treatment of the crewmens' families was less than exemplary. Did the Sovs do Scorpion, with high officials in the District and Moscow independently backing off from investigating the mysterious sinkings of one submarine on each side so as to avoid further conflict? I don't know enough about the other explanations of Scorpion's sinking to fully evaluate the claims in the book.

(Cross-posted to 50 Book Challenge).

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