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Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,366 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
The explosive story of America's secret post-WWII science programs, from the author of the New York Times bestseller Area 51

In the chaos following World War II, the U.S. government faced many difficult decisions, including what to do with the Third Reich's scientific minds. These were the brains behind the Nazis' once-indomitable war machine. So began Operation Paperclip,
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
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11811 (Eleven)
Oct 17, 2015 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was amazing
This was mind blowing. I'll think of something to comment on later. I'm kinda anxious to start one of her other books.

Fans of post-WWII history: You want to read this.
Steven Z.
Apr 06, 2014 Steven Z. rated it it was amazing
At the conclusion of her new book, OPERATION PAPERCLIP: THE SECRET INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM THAT NAZI SCIENTISTS BROUGHT TO AMERICA, Annie Jacobsen discusses her battles with American military and intelligence authorities in trying to obtain documents relating to the employ of Nazi scientists by the United States Army and other government agencies following World War II. In her discussion a common theme reaches fruition in 2012 as the Department of Defense finally declassified a 1945 list of Nazi do ...more
Nov 28, 2014 KOMET rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in Operation Paperclip and post-1945 world history
Earlier in the year, I attended a book reading by Anne Jacobsen about this subject, which was complete with a rather impressive slide presentation. What she said about Operation Paperclip that day not only induced me to buy this book later that week. But more importantly, it forever altered my previous view of Operation Paperclip, which, from the time I first became aware of it sometime in the 1980s, I had regarded as a wholly noble effort on the part of the U.S. government to locate, retrieve, ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Nazi scientists who worked in slave labor factories and performed deadly medical experiments on prisoners are war criminals by any decent persons definition. Many of the scientists working for the Reich were ardent Nazi's and members of the SS Werner von Braun among them. In 1946 the Nuremberg trials convicted many of the Nazi leadership for crimes against humanity. The cold war was heating up and the American military fear losing top Nazi scientists to the Russians. Shortly after the war hundr ...more
Jeffrey Taylor
Sep 11, 2014 Jeffrey Taylor rated it really liked it
There are three major questions that this book raises:

1. The legal question: Was justice served? Despite the Nuremburg trials, given the immensity of the war crimes far too many people served token imprisonment and many of them were released early as a result of West German complaints that these were political prisoners punished by the victors.

2. The pragmatic question: Were these scientists needed to win the cold war? I think the answer is yes. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and the pi
Jean Poulos
In 1945, Operation Overcast (renamed Operation Paperclip for the paperclips attached to the dossiers of the scientist) began. More than 1600 German scientist were secretly recruited to work for the United States. There was a race between the United States and the U.S.S. R. to obtain these scientists. At the time Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rabbi Steven Wise publically opposed the program.

In 1998 President Clinton signed the Nazi War Crimes disclosure Act, which pushed through the decl
Sachin N
Sep 08, 2016 Sachin N rated it really liked it
Received this book as a part of the Goodreads giveaway. Was promised a hardcover but got a softcover but no complaints!

This book is highly recommended to WWII buffs and historians who are looking for a complete and one-stop reference of Operation PaperClip. For the uninitiated, Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in the aftermath of World War II. And, yes, these scientists were granted
Jul 25, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, owned
I got this book as a first-reads giveaway. It was a really fascinating, and horrifying look at a part of America's history I didn't know much about. The book provides thorough evidence that people in the US government knowingly brought scientists responsible for experimenting on people, mass murders and use of slave labor to America for their knowledge of chemical/biological warfare. It also shows the struggles of other Americans to make sure that war crimes were prosecuted and try to bring atte ...more
Sharon Richardson
Jul 10, 2016 Sharon Richardson rated it it was amazing
Incredible and fascinating. At times I found it difficult following all the different scientists and their atrocities and research in Germany while trying to maintain the connection to what they did later in the US. However, I found the book to be an amazing and interesting historical account of this post- WWII period. Operation Paperclip is shrouded in controversy and certainly poses the question, does the ends justify the means? I loved this book, and I learned a lot!
May 05, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the 1955 Disneyland TV series “Man in Space”, mentioned in this book, best shows the American attitude towards using German science (Nazi science) to assist the country in furthering the ability to make war. This benign looking series, with lots of cartoons, some of them racist, talks about the captured V-2 rocket as the start of the U.S. missile/space program. Not mentioned in the “Man in Space” first show, is that the V-2 rocket was built by slaves for the Nazis. This fact is ignored a ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As advertised, the story of the program that brought the Paperclip scientists to America (and the story behind the Paperclip name). Not all that much is revealed about the projects the scientists worked on for America, apart from what’s come to light with NASA, and mostly because not all that much of the full picture is known. Files remain classified, or become declassified but “lost.” The hall of mirrors still exists.

But how it came about, that we now know. Or enough of a glimpse at least. Also
This is a very readable book about a very ugly story. The general facts are well-known and Jacobsen provides riveting details, not new revelations.

The book is nevertheless a journalistic treatment, not a scholarly one. Like her other book, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, Operation Paperclip needs some better editing. For instance, on page 330, Jacobsen writes that in 1947 a group of Nazi war criminals travelled from Yalta to Moscow "by private jet." A jet, i
Merritt Webb
Aug 08, 2014 Merritt Webb rated it really liked it
This book follows 21 Nazi scientists the US recruited after WW2...some of whom were war criminals. It was a very turbulent time, and the US sought to buttress defenses against the Soviet Union. Hundreds of scientists were recruited, but this book focuses on 21.

One of the most interesting parts was just how much Cold War paranoia and fear drove us to abandon our ideals. (Not unlike what is happening with the war on terror now.)

Another interesting aspect was that the US is still trying to keep thi
Madelyn Grace
Jun 21, 2016 Madelyn Grace rated it it was amazing
I have been on a serious non-fiction kick lately and this was the latest in the long line of serial reading. This book is not for everyone, one needs to be in the mind space for a history lesson. I found myself putting it down a few times due to the severity of it. Nonetheless I enjoy it and Jacobsen is now on my radar!
This book was so interesting, I kept stopping to make notes and look for references. Annie Jacobsen's research is beyond reproach. My only complaint is the narrator on the audiobook version...her voice was like a nail in my ear, but that's what I get for listening to the book rather than reading.
However, the content was so interesting, I got past her voice tone and style of delivery. This book is a feather in my history-reading cap...MKDELTA, MKULTRA, Project Bluebird and's all fa
John McDonald
Nov 24, 2014 John McDonald rated it really liked it
Operation Paperclip, the secret government-military program which relocated and compensated Nazi chemists, biologists, engineers, rocket scientists, businessmen, and others to the United States so they could continue in the United States the scientific work they began in Nazi Germany originally designed to be used against United States and allied soldiers and citizens of Germany and captured nations.

The U.S. government not only relocated them, it arranged fictitious papers to ease transport, pai
Rob Kitchin
Jul 09, 2016 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
As the Second World War in Europe drew to a close the Allies started to hunt down Nazi war criminals and top German scientists. In many cases, these two groups overlapped, such as military doctors who performed experiments on people at concentration camps, or rocket scientists who oversaw and relied on the manufacturing and assembling of parts in camps where workers were worked to death, or chemists and biologists who created and tested chemical weapons. With the cold war set to start, some Germ ...more
Apr 06, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
The most in depth investigation of the top secret American program to bring former Nazi Party, Waffen SS, Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe officers, and other specialized medical, engineering and scientific luminaries to the United States after the end of WWII.

The US military created technical exploitation battalions, under the command and control of military intelligence officers, to investigate and exploit Nazi technology in 1944 and 1945. During the push East, these units were often sent into harms w
Chris Ross
I listened to the audio book and it is fascinating, riveting, and disturbing all at the same time and discreetly.

The book is true to its title and details the Nazi scientists that created WMD, did experiments on human, Jewish, slaves without consent, and advanced the science of weaponry, military machinery, military/soldier (Nazi soldiers & pilots only until brought to America) safety, and killing on a grand scale.

The book wrestles with the moral dilemma of bringing these scientists, most o
Jul 06, 2014 Denny rated it really liked it
Well researched and written account of the American military's post-WWII program to hire German scientists that violated its own (and international) rules regarding suspected NAZI war criminals. The reason, "national security." V2 scientists, technicians, and engineers were recruited for missile and space research and production. Other scientists filled biological, chemical and medical research needs.

At the same time, other American military investigators were following those ignored rules for
Pierre Lauzon
Mar 06, 2014 Pierre Lauzon rated it really liked it
First, the book was not what I had expected from the title and the promotional blurbs. I was expecting a broader brush of what the scientists did in the United States and the benefits of their efforts. The book was more narrowly focused on the Paperclip program itself, with much detail on the origins of the program, recruiting, and the conflicts that inevitably arose from the fact that many of the scientists were ardent Nazis and some should have been excluded from the United States as war crimi ...more
Lashawna Covey
Jun 10, 2014 Lashawna Covey rated it really liked it
This book may be long, but it is immensely readable and highly interesting and the book sped by at a rapid pace. I knew of the basic concept of Operation Paperclip, but this was the first time I read the dirty details of the operation. It is rather chilling, though not THAT surprising, that the US government and military made the deals they did with these war criminals. It really does show that for some in government, even one that professes to be as moral and upstanding as the US government, th ...more
Victor Bruneski
Jul 06, 2015 Victor Bruneski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think most people that have some interest in Nazi's or WW2 in general, as well as conspiracy theorists; have heard something of Operation Paperclip. Annie Jacobsen is able to answer my vague notions of what exactly happened after WW2, and the looting of German scientists by the American government.

Too start, the most surprising thing about the book is the revealing of information never before seen, be it by the government or the people who took part or were affected by Operation Paperclip.

Collin O'Donnell
Jan 30, 2016 Collin O'Donnell rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Nazi history, as well as American history and all history for thousands and thousands of years, is comprised of human stories. A man goes to work for ten hours aiding in crimes against humanity and goes home to lavish love on his family. A man kills twenty men on the other side of the battlefield and is given a medal, an accolade which mocks the PTSD he develops over the coming years. Human stories are often stories of contrast and hypocrisy, stories that elude empirical moral definition. Howeve ...more
Kathy Sebesta
Dec 21, 2014 Kathy Sebesta rated it liked it
Audiobook. Subtitle says it all: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America.

DO NOT LET AUTHORS READ THEIR OWN BOOX!!! Why does a person who writes (reasonably) well think she can read out loud as well? SHE CANNOT! This is a difficult book on a difficult subject with many, many opportunities for pronunciation and enunciation errors, and she made so many it destroyed the meaning and continuity of the book. Particularly when she was naming a German scientist, she pronou
Dottie Resnick
Aug 03, 2015 Dottie Resnick rated it it was amazing
This book took me a long time to read because of the difficult nature of the topic. I actually had to completely put it aside for about a week because I found our government's actions so disturbing. Having taken this bit of a break (either hardened my attitude or gave me more compassion for the government), I was able to complete the book.
Operation Paperclip was designed to bring Nazi scientists to the USA -- as opposed to have the scientists go to work for the Soviet communists. These men were
Christopher Ligatti
Feb 23, 2015 Christopher Ligatti rated it really liked it
Definitely interesting and disturbing. A bit one sided as it is easy with retrospect to say that is was unnecessary for us to bring these scientists over rather than let the russians get them when the cold war did not actually end in us needing their expertise (especially in chemical and biological weapons). Still the case made against each of the scientists as being at least complicit, and more often, directly involved in war crimes is very persuasive. I would have liked a deeper understanding ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
Wow. And not wow because of all the crazy stuff the Germans did during WWII, Wow because of all the crazy stuff we did with those crazy German Scientists, after WWII. Here is the tiny fact that hit me hardest. At the Nuremberg trials right after the war the U.S. was the main prosecutor with the Germans mainly watching as control of the country was under the Allies. Then some years later there were more war crimes trials where the Germans ran the trials (in West Germany). They were getting on the ...more
Jun 15, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Well researched book which covers what these Nazi scientist did, how the US protected them, what they did for the US including things like CIA LSD research, and then what happened as their past got challenged. It was stunning to see the denials from some of the men. One insisted that he saw no brutality on the V-2 production line despite one hanging outside his office of 12 men who had been hanged for sabotage. Now many of these name may not be well known to the modern reader, but some like Wern ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
What a sad, disturbing book. Chronicles the U.S. Government programs to hire Nazi scientists, including numerous known war criminals, at the end of World War II. These men, including famous rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and numerous Nazi doctors involved in non-consenting human experiments on concentration camp prisoners, played central roles in U.S. weapons research in the late 1940s, throughout the 1950s, and in some cases into the 1960s and 1970s. The rocket scientists, led by von Braun, ...more
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Annie Jacobsen is a journalist and author of the New York Times Bestsellers AREA 51 and OPERATION PAPERCLIP. She writes about war, weapons, and U.S. national security.

Her newest book, THE PENTAGON'S BRAIN: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency, publishes September 22, 2015.

OPERATION PAPERCLIP was chosen as one of the best non-fiction books of 2014 by The Bo
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