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Operation Overflight: The U-2 Spy Pilot Tells His Story for the First Time

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In this new edition of his classic 1970 memoir about the notorious U-2 incident, pilot Francis Gary Powers reveals the full story of what actually happened in the most sensational espionage case in Cold War history. After surviving the shoot-down of his reconnaissance plane and his capture on May 1, 1960, Powers endured sixty-one days of rigorous interrogation by the KGB, ...more
Unknown Binding, 375 pages
Published January 1st 1970 by Holt McDougal
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Sarah
This was a neat book for a whole bunch of reasons. It was an incredibly fascinating and well-written memoir about the pilot of a super awesome, top-secret reconnaissance plane who gets trapped in Soviet Russia after a near-fatal crash landing. Whats not to love?

I realize that this is insanely tangential and nowhere close to an actual review, but the main takeaway point for me was that I WANT TO BE A U-2 PILOT. Im not kidding. In another life, I think Im just going to go for it: join the CIA,
...more
Alice
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The U2 Incident sits right at the nexus of two of my interests - aviation and espionage - so I was keen to read this. The background to the overflights, Powers's time in USSR and the consequences on his return to the US were all fascinating.
Jj Grilliette
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an autobiography. I enjoyed it as I did not know much about this event. Of course, being an autobiography, it will be very one sided, but it is important for the pilot to get out his side of the story. This book was out 10 years after his flight. At the end he gave his opinions on the good and bad of him being shot down as far as what America learned. He seems to think that the American public finding out about the U-2 at this time and the spying the government was doing led to the ...more
George
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've probably read this previously, but decided to do it again...great read! It's a no nonsense account of how Powers was approached, and eventually accepted, his job as a civilian CIA pilot. And later how he began over flying Russia. He was shot down, captured and tossed in Lubyanka and Vladimir prisons. His show trial made international news. His account is thrilling and was delayed for some years after the event, a sign of the times. I enjoyed the read and it was reminiscent of some times in ...more
Danny Theurer
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Powers writes quite an interesting retelling of events! For anyone wondering what an American POW in the Soviet Union would've gone through, this book is a good place to start. This story tells the human cost of espionage and the fallibility of surveillance technology.
Magic M
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was very authentic and included many interesting detail. Great insight in to american pilots life in 60s.
Phillip Visnansky
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
On May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers took off from an air force base in Pakistan on an overflight of the Soviet Union in a U-2 spy plane. Detected by Soviet radar over Sverdlovsk, Powers' aircraft was targeted by many missiles and interceptor aircraft. Ultimately, Powers' plane was struck by a near miss and he was forced to bail out over the Soviet Union. Standing trial in Moscow, Powers' was sentenced to ten years of captivity and labor.

Powers spent 18 months in Soviet prisons after his
...more
Previous TCL Reviews
U.S. Concedes Flight Over Soviet, Defends Search For Intelligence; Russians Hold Downed Pilot As Spy
So read the headline of the May 8, 1960 edition of the New York Times.
Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident by Francis Gary Powers is an invaluable first-hand account of one of the most controversial episodes of the entire Cold War. It chronicles Powers stranger than fiction experiences in the US Air Force, as a CIA contracted U-2 pilot, and in the Soviet prison where he was sent
...more
AdultNonFiction Teton County Library
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Teton County Library Call No: BIO POWERS F
Kevin's rating: 5 stars

U.S. Concedes Flight Over Soviet, Defends Search For Intelligence; Russians Hold Downed Pilot As Spy
So read the headline of the May 8, 1960 edition of the New York Times.
Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident by Francis Gary Powers is an invaluable first-hand account of one of the most controversial episodes of the entire Cold War. It chronicles Powers stranger than fiction experiences in the US Air Force, as a CIA
...more
Gale Jake
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was very interested in reading this book..as a pilot and years ago in 1959 as a Navy enlisted plane captain I went with our planes, S2F anti submarine aircraft to the Atsugi Japan base where U 2 s were operating. I didn't see any. It we knew they were there. The U 2 incident happened just 4 months before I finished my Navy enlistment and entered college. I remember wel the press that focused on the capture of Pilot Francis Gary Powers. At the time he was protaid as a submissive captured pilot ...more
Matt Goins
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dustin
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This could have easily been a James Bond novel, except of course, that it's all real. It's a no nonsense account of how Powers was approached, and eventually accepted, his job as a civilian CIA pilot. And later how he began over flying Russia (illegally) for intelligence gathering. He covers every aspect, from pre-flight, to his shoot down, capture, "trial", and imprisonment in clear, concise detail. What I also enjoyed was that he didn't hold anything back. He was a real man, with real ...more
Ian
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is essentially a book in three parts. It starts with the back story to the U2 programme from a pilot's perspective and will appeal to the aviation enthusiast and those who love spy intrigue. Powers then goes into depth about capture, trial and imprisonment and this is admirably described, especially the mental stresses that accompany such an experience. Finally Powers delivers a heartfelt polemic on the rationale behind the overflights of Russia, the lack of contingency planning for a ...more
KennyO
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
The downing of Powers' U-2 in 1960 was headline news for a long time. It made us nervous and scared, it triggered the cancellation of an important U.S.-Soviet summit meeting and it made headline news out of a highly classified reconnaissance program. It also made President Eisenhower look foolish for denying the overflight of Soviet territory by U.S. aircraft. Here is the story from Powers showing what didn't make the evening news. He was made a scapegoat and his military career went directly ...more
Vojtech
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book has a couple of major sections, but for me it boiled down to three. The first one is mainly about Powerses' training, the U2 and flying it. I liked that part a lot. Follows the part about Russian prison. Also quite interesting. The last one about what happened after Powers came back to the US is the most disappointing one. To me it felt a lot like whining about who and how did him wrong, especially the part where he deals with the CIA. Not dignified at all. Overall, a good book for ...more
Dan Carpenter
Generic Plot Spoilers: I loved the first third of the book (about the plane, flying, etc.), liked the second third (life in prison), and was only mildly interested in the last third (life after release). The last third seemed to just be him trying to clear his name from everything bad that anyone said about him after the incident which was kind of lame to me.
Claire
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I read something about him in an article, so I said I'll check out this book. I was thinking I would just skim through it, look at the pictures, etc. But I ended up reading it from cover to cover, and found it fascinating!
Angus
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys history
A good not to heavy nonfiction read that helps to make you understand in some ways how the cold war was really fought. This includes something of a modern day scheme behind what america said and what they did.
Emily Sorrells
Well written, but since it was written as a memoir of sorts, it of course leads one to have doubts to some validity. He seems like he was a great man, however, and I enjoyed the afterward by the son. Would have really liked to learn more about the coin and why it was given to him though. . .
Shinay
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Francis Gary Powers flew a U-2 plane over Russia taking photographs of buildings etc that looked suspicious.
His plane was brought down by a Russian rocket.
The U.S. - It was a weather balloon.
Russia - no, we have parts of the plane and the crew member.
...more
Chris Morrow
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story, outlining an event that most folk know happened from the perspective of the flier in question. Interesting details about the event, the aftermath (personally and professionally) and the national politics surrounding the events.

I enjoyed this book.
Vladimir Vinogradsky
Surprisingly readable account of the incident. Completely changed my perception of Gary Powers.
Jim Winkelman
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are two sides to every story and Gary tells his well. I need to watch "Bridge of Spy" again now that I understand his story, trial and imprisonment
Jdevero
Nov 20, 2011 added it
Shelves: history
An interesting look into a small window of the Cold War through the eyes of a U2 spy plane pilot who found himself caught in the middle of global war politics.
Rima
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read

I enjoyed this book. I'm sorry it took me so long to read it. If u are interested in the U2, I recommend this book
Ed
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Feb 26, 2013
Jackson
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Dec 31, 2018
Brian
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Jul 28, 2012
Neil Crocker
rated it it was amazing
Sep 07, 2019
Chris Coulter
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Dec 27, 2019
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Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 August 1, 1977) was an American pilot whose CIA[1] U-2 spy plane was shot down while over the Soviet Union, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.

Powers was born in Jenkins, Kentucky, with Melungeon ancestry, and raised in Pound, Virginia, on the Virginia-Kentucky border. He was raised by his mother and father, Ida and Oliver Powers, and had five sisters Jean Goff
...more

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