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All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion
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All Hands Down: The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the USS Scorpion

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Forty years ago, in May 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion sank in mysterious circumstances with a loss of ninety-nine lives. The tragedy occurred during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it followed by only weeks the sinking of a Soviet sub near Hawaii. Now in All Hands Down, drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews, many with ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by Simon & Schuster
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This is a sobering, engaging book. I had read part of it in a bookstore, waiting for my girls, and then the Library became my next source to finish; I had to wait a couple of weeks, but when I got it I was captured (and ask the booklady about how hard it is to keep my attention on a book without falling asleep). It appears to be a well-researched book; you can tell sensationalism just by the wording, and this book maintains an even keel. The fact I was part of the Military during the Cold war on ...more
I was at sea aboard the USS Permit when we received word of the loss of the USS Scorpion in May 1968. On board, the loss provoked much discussion of the loss, five years earlier, of the USS Thresher (the USS Permit was the 2nd of the USS Thresher class of submarines, and after the Thresher went down the class was renamed the Permit class). Sewell's is a harrowing tale that deflates a lot of balloons of memory as it explores the current probabilities vs the possibilities that were offered up at t ...more
I served in 1979 aboard the USS Seahorse (a fast attack submarine) & like many others always heard about the Thresher & the Scorpion. While the incidents surrounding the Thresher were known, any questions about the Scorpion were met with "don't ask".
This book is way overdue. I am astonished that anyone with the government would even allow it, much less answer any questions. Yes, I understand that this is still not an official acknowledgement however, the research & evidence is overw
Jun 25, 2011 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Cold War events.
Recommended to John by: Gordon
An excellent book for those trying to figure out major events in the Cold War. This is the first treatise that I've seen to connects the Walker spy ring with the capture of the USS PUEBLO and the mysterious sinking of the USS SCORPION. What a tragic web! The writer does a nice job of telling the many personal stories while describing events in a factual and objective manner.
Barry Sierer
I was a skeptic of this theory when I started this book. The idea that the Soviets set a trap for, and deliberately sank a US submarine in the midst of the cold war (risking WW III) seemed like a stretch to me. After reading the book and taking some time to look over the author’s notes, I believe that Sewell and Prielser have put together a theory that is sound overall, but still has a few issues.

The first issue is that the helicopter that allegedly sank Scorpion was piloted by “KGB Special Forc
Alain Dewitt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas Stevenson
The loss of the USS Scorpion in 1968 turns out to have been a Cold War tit for tat. Sewell's account explains what happened and why as well as how the role John Walker played in enabling the Soviets to locate the Scorpion so it could be torpedoed. Here are the mysteries that take place in the dark of international relations!
Interesting read, unfortunately the real story is still wrapped up in a lot of classified information. It is amazing the restraint both sides showed at different points during the Cold War. Unfortunately, even during the "Cold War" there was too much loss of life.
Perhaps a bit conspiracist, but a very fluid and interesting read. I had no knowledge of the USS Scorpion beforehand and walked away feeling educated. Without reading any refutes of this, I'll buy this theory for now.
The average citizen cannot truely appreciate the cold war until you read a book like "All Hands Down". I believe this to be a perfect example of the tensions between the US and the USSR. Any number of situations similar to the fate of the USS Scorpion, could have led to WWIII. Luckily, we had level headed men in charge that were able to work through problems without total destruction. For some reason I kept thinking about the movie "The Day After" while reading this book. Extremely well research ...more
Don Weidinger 40 years ago, in May 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion sank in mysterious circumstances with a loss of 99 lives, during the height of the Cold War. Now, drawing on hours of exclusive interviews as well as recently declassified US and Soviet intelligence files, Sewell and Preisler explain what really happened to Scorpion. When a Soviet sub mysteriously sank near Hawaii, hundreds of miles from its normal station, Soviet naval leaders mistakenly believed that a US sub was to blame. Using a ...more
Rich Humes
Pretty entertaining read but I'm not sure if this is straight history, investigative journalism, or conspiracy theory.
I remember the loss of the Thresher and the Scorpion. And I remember that the Navy said both sank accidentally. The author of this book says the USSR baited the Scorpion into a kill box and torpedoed it. And that could be so. My quibble is that this book is written in such a way that the casual reader will think it's the official word, not one writer's opinion.
Dec 19, 2009 Laurie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: submarine geeks like me/ conspiracy theorists
I thought this book was very well researched. I had no idea that the time frame was also associated with the Pueblo and John Walker..... Do I believe that our government would hide the truth from the families of these sailors and the nation? Yes, I do.
I was shocked to read about the Russian attack on a US vessel. I never realized that this happened. The impact on the families was so sad. The author made this book fast moving and a great pleasure to read.
Mike Manos
USS Scorpion, an American fast attack submarine lost, maybe it was a tragic accident; or was it an act of war by the Soviet Union? The Cold War was very hot in 1968.
I found this one kind of dull, which really surprised me. It seemed well researched, and the subject should be fascinating, but I just couldn't get into it.
adult nonfiction; military history. well-told narrative of the events leading up to and the Cold War secrets surrounding the sinking of the USS Scorpion.
Did the Soviets really sink one of our nuclear subs back in 1968? Beats the hell out of me, that's why I'm reading this book.
From the perspective of one who spent twenty years as a submarine sailor, I find this theory very plausible.
The story (and backstory) about a US sub that (apparently) got torpedoed by the Russians in '68.
Frank Dodd
Jeese this ends bad... not the story but the truth.
Are there any happy true stories?
Little Fish
I did learn quite a bit BUT I needed more scientific education to understand it!
ej cullen
Excellent re-telling of an incredible cold war incident.
I did like the history this book offered.
J. Paul
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Jun 30, 2015
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