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Dangerous Games: Faces, Incidents, and Casualties of the Cold War Hardcover – April 15, 2010
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Dangerous Games: Faces, Incidents and Casualties of the Cold War is a return to that era. This book contains many unknown and long-since forgotten stories of that period. With the resurgence of Russia, and its aggressive handling of the Georgian situation, Eastern European countries have become increasingly alarmed that Russia is attempting to recreate a sphere of influence over satellite states of the former Soviet Union.
To add to the mounting tension with the West, Russia in its attempt to become a world power once again, has already begun to show its flag in the Western Hemisphere. Considering that we may be facing a second Cold War, this book is a timely reminder of some notable incidents from the intense political period following the end of the Second World War.
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About the Author
Scott Baron, a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and former law enforcement officer in California, is the author of They Also Served: Military Biographies of Uncommon Americans and coauthor, with Wise, of The Navy Cross and Women at War: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Conflicts.
- Publisher : Naval Institute Press; Illustrated edition (April 15, 2010)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591149681
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591149682
- Item Weight : 1.06 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.62 x 0.88 x 9.26 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,971,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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China reentered the world stage following the Chinese Communists defeat of the Chinese Nationalists. Wise and Baron retell the story of the US Marines in China immediately following the end of World War II. Over the next four years, the Chinese Communists would harass the Marines. The reader learns of the heroics of men like PFC Alfred Perkey, who while wounded, set up a mortar and fire off a few rounds before he was mortally wounded. After the final collapse of the Chinese Nationalists in Manchuria, the Marines departed in 1949. Among the last Marines to leave, was a famous actor who starred in "Crimson Tide" and "Bat 21".
The authors share the story of Elizabeth Bentley, a matronly woman who ran one of the largest spy networks for the Soviets. Her subsequent defection back to her native United States had a major impact on Soviet espionage through the 1950s.
No discussion of the cold war would be complete without including the Berlin Airlift. Readers are treated with a biopic on the "candy bomber", Lt Gail Halvorsen, whose special treats uplifted the spirits of the children of Berlin. The fast-paced 18-months of the Berlin airlift witnessed only a few accidents. Fittingly, the authors honor these men who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the people of Berlin would survive.
The authors tell the story of US Navy PB4Y-2 aircraft BUNO#19645, which was the first aircraft shootdown of the cold war. The 10-man aircraft was flying a reconnaissance mission off of Latvia, when Soviet fighters shot down the unarmed aircraft over international waters. Over the next forty years, an additional 80 men would lose their lives in similar incidents. Appendix A of the book is a glossary of all of the aerial incidents involving American, Soviet, Chinese, and Korean aircraft.
Readers also learn about US Navy Captain Eugene Karpe, who was mysteriously murdered aboard the Orient Express in 1950.
Not all of the incidents involved uniformed service members. Two men, John Downey and Richard Fecteau, were CIA operatives who were captured in Manchuria when their aircraft was shot down. They spent the next 2 decades in captivity.
Operation Moolah was a US initiative to offer a pilot $100,000 in cash to any pilot who delivered an operable version of a then, top-line MiG-15 into US hands. Having never seen one of the millions of pamphlets advertising the program, a North Korean pilot does just that.
Yuri Gargarin was the first human to complete an orbit of the earth. The authors provide the reader with a very brief biography on the life and untimely death of Gargarin.
For thirteen days in October 1962, the United States and Soviets almost came to a nuclear exchange over the introduction of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, US Air Force U-2 aircraft provided invaluable overhead imagery that definitively proved the existence of the missiles on the island. Major Rudolph Anderson would lose his life during one of these missions.
In the 2000 movie "Men of Honor", Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays the role of the US Navy's first black master diver, Carl Brashear. The authors treat the reader with a transcript of Brashear's oral history.
Since 1955, an armistice has provided the framework for peace for the Korean Peninsula. Far too many times, the belligerents have violated the terms of this agreement. The authors cover many of the more infamous events, such as the 1967 USS Pueblo Incident; and the horrific murders in 1976 of the US military members who attempted to cut down a tree in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.
In 1967, an inadvertent firing of a Zuni rocket started a fire that ripped apart the USS Forrestal. The authors reprint James Caiella's article "1051 Hell", from the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation magazine, "Foundation".
The book concludes with the Silver Star actions of Staff Sergeant Gregory Frontius during the El Salvador insurgency in 1987.
The challenge with a book like this is there is always the risk of leaving something out. I was surprised there was no mention of the 1983 liberation of the island of Grenada. The socialist government was constructing a 10,000 foot runway for "commercial purposes". However, this runway would have enabled Soviet and Cuban fighter jets to be able to reach the entire span of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea without refueling. I was also surprised that the 1989 explosion aboard the USS Iowa was also left out of Appendix B, which listed all of the US naval incidents that occurred during the cold war.
The authors assume the reader already has a working understanding of the political environment of the cold war, so they focus on establishing a personal connection with the heroes in this book. The book is exceptionally well-written, and I highly recommend it to readers interested in military history.