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Torpedoed: An American Businessman's True Story of Secrets, Betrayal, Imprisonment in Russia, and the Battle to Hardcover – November 14, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (November 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316348732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316348737
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,814,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Traveling in the former Soviet Union as a private contractor buying declassified technology that made its way from the military into Russia's newly freed consumer markets Pope trips into the nightmarish world of post-Cold War Russia. Written with Tom Shactman (The FBI-KGB War; Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold), this volume moves as quickly as its name suggests, at least initially: Pope, a former U.S. naval attach‚ and intelligence officer, gets thrown in prison within the first few pages. Accused of spying for the United States, he suffers indignities (strip searches, "mind games") and intimidation (he's told he belongs with terrorists and "serious criminals") from the new state security guards. The indictment stems from his interest in the country's "sensitive" Shkval torpedo, but what worries Pope the most once he's officially charged with espionage is his memory of "126 special clearances on matters of high importance to the security of the United States." After all, he writes, the interrogations are intense and "you don't just scrub [what you know] from your memory." Pope's fight for freedom is hampered by the questionable justice of the Russian legal system and a frustrating lack of support from the U.S. Embassy, and the book appropriately though unfortunately begins to drag once his days in jail stretch into months. Readers may find Pope's portraits of the new Russians too tiredly reminiscent of the old guard, and the degrading nicknames he uses to designate his interrogators (Little Feliks, Blubber-Butt, etc.) undermine the seriousness of his situation. But overall, this is a page-turner, a great spy story that nearly encourages nostalgia for Cold War spy politics. (Nov.)Forecast: Pope's refusal to grant any interviews since his December 2000 release will likely create intrigue, and his striking story will probably appeal to conspiracy theorists, Cold War history buffs, and James Bond fans alike.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A former naval intelligence officer turned businessman, Pope spent 253 days in a Moscow prison cell accused of trying to steal secrets from the Russians about their submarine technology. He was released only after being convicted and sentenced to 20 years, whereupon the new Russian president, Vladimir Putin, commuted his sentence and sent him home in December 2000. Here is Pope's detailed account of his months of interrogation and harassment while his health steadily declined. He proclaims his innocence, yet readers may wonder why the State Department was so slow to come to his aid. Only through pressure from his wife and from his local Pennsylvania congressman was the U.S. government inclined to try to save Pope from decades in prison. This is a harrowing tale set within the context of great-power politics at the onset of the new century. Pope is understandably bitter about what happened to him, but one suspects that there is more to his story than he is telling. Nevertheless, this book will send chills down one's spine. Recommended for large public and academic libraries. Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terry L. Wilton on November 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A very well-written, no-holds-barred account of Ed Pope's ordeal in today's Russia. This book makes it clear that the Russian government still continues many of the more odious Soviet practices, especially when it comes to their paranoia about foreigners and the treatment of accused defendants. Ed Pope and Tom Schactman give numerous insights into today's Russian system of "justice," making it clear that having no hard evidence against a defendant (whether a foreigner or a Russian) is not a problem for the prosecution, when it is backed by the FSB and the courts. This should make Western businessmen who have any dealings with Russian military or industrial institutions have second thoughts. As a former naval intelligence officer myself, I would rate this as a five-star book that should be read by all intelligence professionals, as well as all those who would do business in today's Russia. Terry Wilton, LCDR USN (Ret.).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Garner on May 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I did not read any reviews before I began to read the book... no preconceived notions. But as I got into the book I saw all the old familiar earmarks of this sort of autobiography.

... "I never did anything wrong", "I was always righteous", those around me are stupid or incompetent, etc.
But on page 41 where he refers to Mel Paisley in almost glowing terms, that was enough for me. This is not an honest book. After a long and successful career at Boeing, Paisley became Asst. Secretary to the Navy where it would seem he became corrupted (Power corrupts, and all that) . Paisley then became a scoundrel of the first order. A crook. Oddly, his story is something like that of Randy Cunningham. A decorated war hero and fighter pilot who later becomes nothing more than a bribe taking villain.

Again, After reading Pope's almost glowing reference to Paisley, I basically lost interest in anything else he had to say.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Kirkland on November 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ever since Ed Pope was imprisoned in Russia, and released last year, I have been curious about the details of his story. What was the torpedo technology that he was after, why was he imprisioned, how did he survive and how did his wife get support from home? In this outstanding book Ed tells it all!
There are many levels to this story. Ed's successful career as a decorated Naval officer. His story of doing business in post 1989 Russia for over 10 years. The specifics of being in the "wrong place at the wrong time" and ultimately his survival within the Russian judicial system. The humanitarian back drop of his Dad's critical illness at home and his wife's work behind the scenes to rally support are all aspects of Ed's story.
It became apparent after he withstood psychological mistreatment for almost a year that the Russian KGB really didn't know who they were dealing with!
A great Christmas gift. This book should be under every Christmas tree as a gift for the person who:
1. loves a great suspense novel
2. loves Naval technology
3. loves a story of good overcoming evil
Not only good reading for adults, but also a great story for our young adults about the reality of doing business in another country. After reading this book, I'll never take for granted our justice system where a person is "innocent until proven guilty".
thanks Ed Pope for sharing your story!!
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By A Customer on November 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A truly great account of a tragic life experience. Very well written and captivating. (no pun intended) After following Mr. Pope's ordeal in the news, this puts the pieces togeather for an insiders view of the incident. After reading and understanding more what happened, this book should be required reading for anyone foolish enough to consider trading with the "new Russia". A great story, too bad the human toll was so great to get it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly, this book provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of an intelligence officer in the US Navy. But more importantly, this account of Pope's imprisonment and trial shows the full extent as to how Putin has rolled back democratic reforms and rule of law in Russia.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Cabana on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This ultimate publication, "Torpedoed" is a true life story of Ed Pope, that is very well written and will be a classic for people who are most anxious to read and learn about Ed's 235-day of imprisonment. This book is informative, adventurous and is most note worthly for Ed's many dedicated years as a Naval Intel Officer, that will be of great interest to young Americans, who are seriously considering a future as a Naval Officer or military career.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce W. Bean on February 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
An incredibly poorly written book, chock full of inconsistencies and contradictions. I forced myself to finish it, which was not as painful as Pope's prison experience, but....
Mr. Pope makes the point many times that he knew he was dealing on the edge of legality. Indeed, he blames some of his troubles on his associate, Kiely, for having brought into Russia "papers that I had pleaded with him to leave at home" [p 124]. Well, Pope says he knew he was being watched, he tells us he knew his hotel phone was bugged and he made that plea in a phone call from Moscow to Kiely in the US. So why the surprise??
To illustrate his point that Putin is a bum, he accuses him of making cheap election promises [sound familiar?] to reschedule London and Paris Club debt [p. 85]. But Putin can't do that; Russia is the debtor!
He knows some of his cellmates are government stooges and yet cites their statements to support his understandable anger at the Rusian government.
The Pope story tells us something about Russian bureacracy and its vestigial military industrial complex. Let's hope it does not tell us much about our own bureaucracies.

Sorry, Captain Ed, but having lived in Moscow for almost seven years and having read most of the books dealing with Russia since Gorbachov, I have to recommend putting yours at the bottom of anyone's reading list.
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