I have enjoyed many of the Military History titles from Easton Press over the years. They provide a good mix of classic military strategy and history titles, with some contemporary history on interesting topics. Blind Man’s Bluff falls into the latter category; a history of the use of U.S. Navy submarines in the cat and mouse intelligence battles during the Cold War.
Author’s Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew are long time journalists, and the book often reads like a long investigative news article. Having said that, this is amazingly suspenseful history, reading like a set of short stories pulled straight from The Hunt for Red October. From daring undersea phone cable tapping deep within Soviet territorial waters, secretly shadowing Soviet submarines just yards away, undersea collisions, and the untold stories of sunken subs on both sides with the loss of hundreds of sailors, this book provides more than enough real life adventures to keep the most ardent spy, military history or suspense buff on the edge of their seats.
While the author’s question the risk/return ratio of these efforts, the main intellectual gain from reading this book stems from lessons that can be learned by putting the reader deeply back into the Cold War mindset. Mistakes get made when decisions are made based on emotions from deeply passionate views about one’s adversary. While the passions generated in wars, cold or hot, are understandably extreme, much value can be gained from studying how such passions can debilitate rationale decision making, for it is by retaining one’s wits during a crisis that critical advantage is gained over an enemy. The Cold War provides a deep treasure trove of knowledge to be gained in the study of reasoned decision making in times of crisis, along with providing a deeper understanding of the value and risks associated with a reliance on espionage as a main contributor to the decision making processes. This book provides valuable insight in these regards.
Similar to many of the books in EP’s Library of Military History, this edition is nicely thought out. The gold stamping on the cover and spine is nicely done in a design apropos for the subject. Included photographs put faces to names, and add illustrative value specific to subjects discussed. The book is nicely made, of good quality and contains appendixes and notes that are useful to the subject at hand.
As an aside, I do not see the The Library of Military History on EP’s website, but I am pretty sure it is still available to subscribe to. If interested, I suggest calling EP to get the list, the titles are really pretty good.
About the Edition
- Genuine leather binding with gold stamped submarine motif on the cover and spine
- 16 pages of historical photographs
- Specially milled archival quality paper
- Map design by Michael Miller
- Sub diagram from Norman Polmar