Matt's Reviews > Crazy Ivan: A True Story Of Submarine Espionage

Crazy Ivan by W. Craig Reed
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Where to start in this train wreck?

The author himself has stated he altered names and some facts to protect his sources. Ohhh really the whole you have to believe me because I can't say where I got this information, is this an episode from Get Smart? Also the author isn't that likeable. I grew up around submariners and always found them smart funny and likable for the most part. Maybe it Reed's writing style of self importance or the fact that he seems to willing to say what he did or where he was that annoyed me or a combination therein but I simply didn't like him or his writing style.

Then in his conclusions he claims the book would have been published two years earlier but he resisted until the publishing of Blind Man's Bluff. Yes the ever popular excuse of I waited until someone else did it first. If he was ever trained by SEAL's like he claims then he must have heard at least once or twice that being second place is no place or something in that vicinity. Maybe he was trying to show restraint but it rang hollow like the tone of his book. The only thing about his book I enjoyed was his description of his father. I like the senior Reed but the junior Reed... The junior Reed just seems to have too many amazing stories to be true.

What perhaps gave me another reason not to like him is his misspelling of Groton the home of the submarine force. I was born in the New-London-Groton area I consider that area home and while something may be "Rotten in Groton" the town is spelled Mr. Reed, Groton not "Grotten". It's a minor thing but still something a submariner should get right especially if you are writing about submarines. It is like writing about movie stars and misspelling Hollywood.

Maybe another reason to dislike him is the fact he kept alluding to describing his mentor as a homosexual then said that while he didn’t judge his mentor on his “lifestyle” he admired him as a friend and mentor. Then Mr. Reed why bother giving this seemingly unimportant part of his life so much space unless it did bother him or he was trying to prove his tolerance or non tolerance of homosexuals serving in the military. Either way I found his description of a valued friend and mentor an unnecessary distraction to the narrative.

I was willing to give the book two stars until I got to the Scorpion conspiracy the Soviets torpedoed the boat theory. There is so much contrary information and theories out there that all it becomes is speculation. I skip over the Scorpion chapter in Blind Man's Bluff because I want facts not speculation. All Reed gives is speculation and ties it in with John Walker the traitor leading up to the Soviets torpedoing the Scorpion perhaps in retaliation to the K-129 sinking near Oahu. This rampant speculation and pinting of unsubstantiated facts defined the book for me. Crazy Ivan is full of nothing more than unsubstantiated sea stories. Mr. Reed has a new book coming out soon, I'll give it a try but if it is anything like this book I won't finish the first chapter.

Simply Crazy Ivan seemed to be more of a desire to tell sea stories and show how many secrets he knew. That makes this book completely substandard and a must avoid. I have heard better stories told at an American Legion pancake breakfast and I left there with a pleasant taste in my mouth and a feeling of good companionship with Reed’s book I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth and an earnest desire never to have Mr. Reed as a confidant or as a friend.
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