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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Memories
I also served on a 637 class attack submarine and agree with most of the sentiments of the prior reviews. I did find the book fun to read and very informative. It created a great source of memories for something I experienced almost 40 years ago as a junior nuclear trained officer. I feel that the author did a great job of surmising what was happening on the Russian...
Published on January 1, 2010 by submariner in Arizona

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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stalking the Red Bear
I am a retired submarine commander. This book is technically accurate, but not very thrilling reading. (Our patrols were not very thrilling most of the time, either.)
Published on August 31, 2009 by C. M. Wood


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Memories, January 1, 2010
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I also served on a 637 class attack submarine and agree with most of the sentiments of the prior reviews. I did find the book fun to read and very informative. It created a great source of memories for something I experienced almost 40 years ago as a junior nuclear trained officer. I feel that the author did a great job of surmising what was happening on the Russian side of the equation. This was something we did almost everyday while on patrol. I am giving this book to my friends who really want to know what we did back in the day . As the former CO said, it wasn't flashy but it was an interesting job. I am very happy that I purchased this book. The author did a nice job.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NUCLEAR STRIKE SUBS: STALKING THE U.S.S.R. FROM UNDER THE SEAS., April 28, 2009
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RBSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas) - See all my reviews
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Five COMPELLING Stars! In "Stalking the Red Bear", author Peter Sasgen investigates highly-classified U.S. Navy nuclear attack submarine operations that were conducted under the code name "Holystone", which according to the author encompassed clandestine Navy "covert submarine espionage operations against the Soviet Union". It began in the late 1940's and continued through the remainder of the Cold War and beyond. But this book is not a work of documented history, although it addresses incidents like the "Thresher" and the "Scorpion": it takes the reader on a fascinating, sometimes hair-raising journey made up of reconstructed operations, procedures, scenes, and conversations based on unlimited, unclassified access by the author to an actual 'Holystone' attack submarine commander: the payoff is that the reader follows a notional crew on a step-by-step spine-tingling deployment to the Barents Sea. it's a risky literary approach for a real-world book, but as one gets caught up in the undersea action, it works. A prodigious amount of information, 'word pictures', and history is imparted to the reader using this convention. Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) and intelligence gathering are major parts of thls book, but the hardships, tenacity, and dedication of the heroic 'submariner' personnel and their families are the real story. The U.S.S.R. once threatened to "bury" America, this book shows how seriously we took the threat of all-out war and how our un-trackable nuclear subs were the hammer the Soviets feared most of all. You may never forget the experiences of the pseudonymous "Captain Roy Hunter" and the "USS Blackfin". And do read the appendices which are loaded with anecdotes, such as some of the heroic exploits of "Lucky" Fluckey and Street, both Congressional Medal of Honor winners: well worth the time. My Highest Recommendation. Five HUGE Stars! (This review is based on a Kindle download.)
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stalking the Red Bear, August 31, 2009
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C. M. Wood (Cumming, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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I am a retired submarine commander. This book is technically accurate, but not very thrilling reading. (Our patrols were not very thrilling most of the time, either.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cold Warrior's Thoughts, April 6, 2010
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This is a very revealing book. It is an outstanding depiction of a routine Cold War Submarine Special Operation. If I wrote such a book I would be in jail. Thanks for a great read on submarine ops and a trip down memory lane. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what really happened when the sleek black sub left port in the late sixties and early seventies.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stalking the Red Bear, August 16, 2009
Well-written and mostly accurate portrayal of intelligence-gathering submarines during the cold war, especiallly the STURGEON (SSN-637) class. Some factual errors about submarine technology (e.g., erroneously called 1970s sattelite navigation GPS, which was not in use until the 1990s and totally missed the use of CO2 scrubbers).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Average, May 3, 2010
As someone who reads a lot of naval literature, I'm bound to come across books that are masterpieces, and books that are utter trash. "Stalking the Red Bear" is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum: It's so profoundly average I can't remember much about it, despite having just finished reading it two days ago.

Despite being mildly interesting in parts, and being mercifully free of technical errors (a Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile is referred to as an "ICBM" in a couple places, but that's my only gripe), this book fails on it's promise of being a gripping thriller. The fictional USS Blackfin and it's commander "Roy Hunter" transit to the Barents Sea, snoop around Russian exercises, collect intelligence data, and tries not to be detected. There's plenty of historical exposition, not much character development, and halfway through, I just didn't care about anyone.

Stalking the Red Bear tries to cover a lot of ground - Cold War submarine espionage, the effects of long deployments on families, the life of a typical Soviet Submariner, but the author's stale writing style gets in the way of the fascinating subject matter. It's not a "bad" book by any stretch of the words, but as Cold War submarine stories go, it's pretty average.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, July 5, 2011
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This review is from: Stalking the Red Bear: The True Story of a U.S. Cold War Submarine's Covert Operations Against the Soviet Union (Hardcover)
This book is a story of a single covert mission performed by a US nuclear submarine. It is a fictional account based on the events of several actual missions during the height of the Cold War. It is certainly interesting, but the mission itself is fairly routine as intelligence is gathered while loitering at periscope depth. The reader learns a small amount about the general operations of a submarine under this specific type of mission; however that knowledge is fairly shallow. The best part of the book is the appendices where actual missions of the past are briefly described.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under the radar, May 5, 2010
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Having read "Stalking" I now have a much better appreciation of the risks and responsibilities undertaken by our submariners during a very dangerous period the extent of which peril was unknown to me. One slip-up and the missiles would have been launched. While the book perhaps goes into too much detail about certain operations and procedures it does give one the feel that the author knows whereof he speaks.

If you're looking for the high drama of Chinese Gordon fighting off The Mahdi and his minions at Khartoum, this isn't it. But given that the author was limited by what actually happened (and didn't have Charleton Heston in the inevitable film's lead role) the author did a commendable job of making interesting a story that was so often out of sight, under water, and under the radar. And while I wouldn't expect to see a movie based on this book at my local multiplex, I wouldn't be surprised to find one on the History Channel or on public television. Bravo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Northern Runs, March 20, 2013
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Great look at the Cold War, and the North Atlantic patrols conducted by US Subs. Having been on two Northern Runs, this book is authentic. I've recommended it to my family so they can understand some of what we did, and why we did it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings back good memories!, December 16, 2012
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Having served on both Permit (Thresher) class and Sturgeon class boats, this sure brought back my West-Pac memories! The locations are different (Atlantic vs Pacific) but the story is so identical. My patrol was 81 days out of Pearl and we did get periscope liberty to look at Russia. Peter Sasgen did an excellent job of telling the story of life on patrol. Sturgeon class boats are still some of the finest boats the US has ever placed in service. This book will truly give the reader a very accurate view of life on the boat. Being enlisted, I did not have it as good as the officers and CO but we also had a fantastic skipper and he demanded the highest level of performance from all of us. If you are curious about submarines and their roll in our national defense, do yourself a favor and read Stalking the Red Bear!
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