But against all odds, Powers emerged from the wreckage and was seized by the KGB. He confessed to espionage charges, revealing to the world that Eisenhower had just lied to the American people--and to the Soviet Premier. Infuriated, Nikita Khrushchev slammed the door on a rare opening in Cold War relations.
In A Brotherhood of Spies, award-winning journalist Monte Reel reveals how the U-2 spy program, principally devised by four men working in secret, upended the Cold War and carved a new mission for the CIA. This secret fraternity, made up of Edwin Land, best known as the inventor of instant photography and the head of Polaroid Corporation; Kelly Johnson, a hard-charging taskmaster from Lockheed; Richard Bissell, the secretive and ambitious spymaster; and ace Air Force flyer Powers, set out to replace yesterday's fallible human spies with tomorrow's undetectable eye in the sky. Their clandestine successes and all-too-public failures make this brilliantly reported account a true-life thriller with the highest stakes and tragic repercussions.
- ISBN-13: 9780385540209
- ISBN-10: 0385540205
- Publisher: Doubleday Books
- Publish Date: May 2018
- Page Count: 352
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
Cold war secrets exposed
BookPage Top Pick in Nonfiction, May 2018
The Cold War between the U.S. and Russia was at its iciest from the early 1950s until well into the 1960s. Neither side knew a great deal about the other’s military capabilities and even less about any grand designs for world supremacy. The information the two superpowers did possess came mostly from spies, diplomats, gossip and news reports. Although securing reliable intelligence was clearly in the Pentagon’s interest, its chief focus was on improving its weaponry. However, the nascent Central Intelligence Agency was interested in experimental aerial reconnaissance projects.
Into this jurisdictional minefield entered four inordinately talented civilians who took it upon themselves to build and test technology that might reveal what was actually happening in Russia: Edwin Land, the inventor of the first Polaroid camera and a genius in the field of optics; Kelly Johnson, an engineer who zeroed in on designing lightweight, high-flying aircraft that could photograph the Russian landscape while, ideally, evading radar detection; Richard Bissell, a Connecticut blue blood the CIA assigned to oversee and facilitate the hush-hush project; and Francis Gary Powers, one of the daredevil pilots selected to test the new spy plane, which they called the U-2. Powers would later be shot down over the Soviet Union in the U-2, sparking even more saber-rattling.
Among the more colorful characters traipsing through this wide-ranging narrative are the bulldoggish General Curtis LeMay, J. Edgar Hoover, the influential and socially well-connected columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop, the surprisingly restrained and canny Nikita Khrushchev, John F. Kennedy and Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, who regarded Powers as a coward and traitor because he didn’t kill himself before being captured by the KGB.
A story as well told as Monte Reel’s A Brotherhood of Spies is an irresistible call to binge-reading.