View Full Version : OT: Book Review, "Red Star Rogue" (long read)

01-25-2007, 06:31 PM
I happened to be in a bookstore yesterday and noticed in the History section, the novel "Red Star Rogue." After reading it in less than a day, I cannot personally call it true "history" because of a large amount of assumptions and "common sense (to submariners) based on available facts" throughout the book. However, the author lays out the known facts in a concise and persuading manner along with his interpretations of official statements and eyewitness testimony refuting those statements.

Apparently, this author had the security clearance and intuition to have good contacts that were involved with at least some or all of US investigation of K-129, a Soviet diesel sub (designated a Golf II class by NATO) that carried 3 ballistic nukes and sank near Hawaii on March 7, 1968. This story has been partially told before in the media and books such as Blind Man's Bluff; but their accounts may have been swallowed hook, line and sinker with stories of disinformation from the CIA and the Russian government.

When I picked up the book in the store to review a couple of pages, I instantly started laughing to myself at the improbability of it. I even put it back on the shelf, thinking I knew enough about the incident to make my own judgment. I was wrong. There are a lot of actual facts in this book that were uncovered after the fall of the Iron Curtain that just don't add up to the "official" story. I'm glad I went back to that shelf to pick it up if only to satisfy my own curiosity.

That's not saying that I fully agree with the premise of the book. It just means that many questions are not really answered. Previous versions of this story that I've read have all agreed that some type of explosion occurred onboard K-129 that rent the pressure hull and sent the sub to the depths. However, the precise (and anecdotal) evidence presented by the author belies the "official" versions presented by the governments of the US and USSR/Russian Federation. The US version is a build-up of hydrogen gas and the Russian version is "accidentally exceeded crush depth," both of which are mutually exclusive. Explosion and implosion are polar opposites.

I think this book is very much worth a read for any Cold War history buffs. It's not conclusive, but it sheds some new light on the tragic demise of a Soviet sub and possibly a US sub. And I stress possibly.

My personal opinion on the secrecy surrounding this event is that both governments should come clean on what they know or suspect (and provide any and all relevant documents). It was almost 4 decades ago, and keeping everything secret serves no purpose while coming clean can actually do some good. If the premise of the book is correct, nobody in this generation is really going to care all that much other than wondering how it can be prevented in today's world. I think most folks are like me...we want to know and we're not going to flip out over Cold War antics. Both sides did questionable and illegal things. It's history. We can learn from it. It's time to put away the conspiracy theories and present all the facts to the public. Nothing of intelligence value gained from this incident is still relevant today, so the US and Russian governments should just come out with what they know or suspect.

01-25-2007, 07:28 PM
i have read about 1/2 of this book, and i have to agree that it really raises alot of questions and the way its written, gave me alot of imaginative visuals. i have to say though that since it was shown that the sub failed right in the middle, where the nukes were, is quite conclusive to the authors conclusions.
as far as both russians and american higher-ups needing to come clean and release the facts....i just doubt that will ever happen. sure, all governments who value morals SHOULD always tell the truth. but...it never happens. it will be a long time before this stuff becomes declassified completely if ever. its a good book though, i recommend it.