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

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  719 ratings  ·  139 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 (first published September 1st 2013)
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Eric van Dalen You are right. I am currently about 1/2 way through. It's a gripping book. Lots of nuggets. I'm glad to not have to return it to Audible for foul…moreYou are right. I am currently about 1/2 way through. It's a gripping book. Lots of nuggets. I'm glad to not have to return it to Audible for foul language.(less)
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Steven Z.
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 3 of 5 stars
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
Jeffrey Taylor
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
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
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
Sachin N
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
For anyone who is a history buff, this is one of the best books telling the story of the closing days of WWII. Annie Jacobsen's research is phenomenal. Her book tells the story of the end of the war.... Germany knows it is going to lose......she doesn't even know who the final conqueror will be...Russia or the United States...the US is coming from the West and Russia is barreling towards Germany from the East. To me it is the most detailed story of the war from midway in 1944 to past the their ...more
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
Kathy Sebesta
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
Sharon Richardson
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!
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
David Mayfield
I've always been fascinated by this period in history. I had read a little bit over the years about the German scientists that came to America as opposed to the German scientists that went to the former Soviet Union. The old joke was: "Our Germans were smarter than their Germans."!
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
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
Merritt Webb
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
Christopher Ligatti
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
I was glad that I read 2/3 of this book because I learned a lot about the scientists who used their considerable gifts to further the German war machine. I also learned that our own government had to choose between punishing the guilty and hiring them to further our own scientific and military advances. Many were happy to switch sides as long as they could continue their work. I also learned that our own government had done horrible medical experiments on humans also, even though those who did s ...more
Elaine Burnes
This pretty much devastated any remaining trust I had in government. It’s a long book but reads easily, like a novel. She hooked me right away, and while the cast of characters is huge, she did a good job with subtle reminders of who they were as the story progressed. And progress it does. Even after the immediate end of the war and the trials, when I thought the program might dwindle in importance, the tension remains. This went on for decades and, I’m sure, is still going on in other forms, wi ...more
John McDonald
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

". . .in the aftermath of the German surrender more than sixteen hundred of Hitler's technologists would become America's own."

"How did this happen, and what does this mean now? Does the accomplishment cancel out past crimes?"

This book covers the 'How did this happen' - the other questions are left for the reader to decide although I think the author's point of view is evident when every time one of the German 'technologists' is mentioned so is what she feels is the most salient negative detail
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
Lashawna Covey
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
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
Apr 05, 2014 Jukka added it
Shelves: recent-reads
Operation Paperclip - Annie Jacobsen

And we live in a country like this? This book is a shock -- especially when you consider that so little has happened that makes 21st century America any different from the 1950's America detailed here.

This book shows how little it mattered with the terrible things that people did during the war, the door was open to them to come to the US, get citizenship and a lucrative job.

While reading i wanted to know how people so smart and capable can do such awful thing
Robert Huddleston
As one connected to the exploitation of Nazi assets, both military hardware as well as those
germans directly involved, I approached "Operation Paperclip" with great expectations; expectations that were only partially met. Bringing Germans to the U.S. in the immediate aftermath of the European conflict stirred up considerable opposition but the public was assured that the effort would not include "ardent Nazis, members of the SS, or convicted or alleged war criminals." That protocol was violated
Denis Vukosav
‘Operation Paperclip’ written by Annie Jacobsen tells a story about a controversial subject – the secret intelligence program responsible for transfer, providing asylum and forgiveness to the German scientists after World War II to US.

Annie Jacobsen work is well-researched and offers story rich in details that explain how this operation was carefully planned, though hidden from the public and conducted after the war conflicts were ended.

The author went through German archive and Harvard Univers
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
A mere history book starting during WWII and from there the timeline is from war through the fifties and sixties. Operation paperclip was a secret plot made by the Allies to get hold of the Third Reich scientists knowledge by hiring them to come to the States to keep on working there on their projects.

Few facts from this book:

- About 1500 scientists from the Nazi Germany immigrated to the States through this operation.

- America wanted to be ahead of Russia and prevent Russia from the gain of
The author started with language that indicated some level of indignantion that America would employ former Nazis at the end of the war. That outlook seems tempered as the story progresses, but Jacobsen never fully loses the tone of one who would like the history she is recording to somehow have another outcome. She does recommend that perhaps in future those in authority would do a better job of revealing who the "bad guys" might have been. But I think she has missed out on two important consid ...more
A damning portrait of the lengths to which the United States went to recruit German scientists, including a number of former Nazis, in the days after World War II. There's just so much in here that's infuriating. The willingness to look the other way and let people who committed atrocities move to this country and work here with no repercussions. How even the one person at the State Department who stood up to this process made no headway. And how some science organizations still today hand out a ...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.

OPERATION PAPERCLIP was chosen as one of the best non-fiction books of 2014 by The Boston Globe, Apple iBooks, and Publishers Weekly, Starred Reviews.

Her 2011 non-fiction bestseller, "AREA 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top
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