A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War

A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War

A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War [EPUB] ✺ A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War Author Monte Reel – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk A thrilling dramatic narrative of the top secret Cold War era spy plane operation that transformed the CIA and brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of disasterOn May 1 1960 an American U 2 A thrilling of Spies PDF ↠ dramatic narrative of the top secret Cold War era spy plane operation that transformed the CIA and brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of disasterOn May an A Brotherhood Epub / American U spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union just weeks before a peace summit between the two nations The CIA concocted a cover story for President Eisenhower to deliver assuring him that Brotherhood of Spies PDF/EPUB å no one could have survived a fall from that altitude And even if pilot Francis Gary Powers had survived he had been supplied with a poison pin with which to commit suicide But against all odds Brotherhood of Spies The U PDF/EPUB ² 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 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.


10 thoughts on “A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War

  1. J.S. J.S. says:

    This is a fascinating and very readable account of the events surrounding the U 2 spy plane Focusing mainly on four important characters Monte Reel shows how the US entered the world of spy craft during an intense period of the Cold WarIn the mid 1950s there was great concern over the perceived missile gap It was believed that the USSR had developed far nuclear missiles than the US and that America was at imminent risk It must be remembered that many at the time expected nuclear weapons would certainly be used The problem was that there was little evidence or knowledge of the actual state of things in the Soviet Union and America didn't have a knowledgeable spy network Instead of developing a human system of informants which would have taken a lot of time a technological solution was devisedEdwin Land the inventor of the Polaroid camera was enlisted to develop a camera that could produce detailed photos from a great altitude and Kelly Johnson of Lockheed came up with a very unconventional plane that would fly above 70000 feet Richard Bissell of the CIA was charged with overseeing the operation which was kept out of the military to avoid the appearance of an overt act of war It was believed that the U 2 would fly so high that it wouldn't be detected by Soviet radar Unfortunately the U 2 was detected on its very first flight And while Soviet fighter jets couldn't fly high enough to shoot them down Nikita Khrushchev saw the invasion of Soviet airspace as an act of war But the information gathered by the U 2 flights turned out to be a goldmine of information for the US until May 1 1960 when U 2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the USSR It was believed that neither the pilot nor the plane would survive from such a height but Powers survived relatively unhurt and many incriminating parts of the plane were recovered As I said before this is a very fascinating account I came away with an appreciation for not only the men who built and flew the U 2 even though some of them weren't always very noble but a better understanding of some of the pressures the leaders of both countries faced And I especially gained a greater appreciation for the plane itself Several years ago I saw one at an airshow at Edwards AFB next to an SR 71 Blackbird in fact and was stunned at what a weird looking plane it was both of them actually This is a book I highly recommend for those who enjoy reading about the Cold War I rec'd an advance copy of the book through Vine


  2. Paul Paul says:

    A Brotherhood of Spies tells the captivating story of the “marrying of espionage with high tech innovation” This is an essential read when trying to understand the original mission of the CIA and the ethical and technological foundations of modern spy craft Reel’s narrative poses several uestions about the modern tactics of war An enlightening readThank you to NetGalley Doubleday Books and Monte Reel for a copy for reviewFull review can be found here check out all my reviews


  3. Eric Eric says:

    TL;DR A Brotherhood of Spies is an information packed readable history of the early days of the Cold War 9510 Highly Recommended Disclosure Doubleday Books provided an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review Review cross posted at my website PrimmLife Review The Lockheed U 2 occupies a uniue spot in both aerospace and military history Operated by the US Air Force but property of the Central Intelligence Agency the U 2 wrested technology from the military to put it into the hands of the fledgling intelligence community The CIA wouldn’t be the lovable spy palace it is today if not for the Lockheed U 2 It’s development challenged the aerospace engineering world to produce a high flying surveillance craft so that the US could spy on the Soviet Union In order to achieve its mission reuirements it deviated from common military design practices uickly the U 2 made a name for itself gathering intelligence and in its high profile crash into the Soviet Union While the development and operation provide noteworthy stories it’s the people that drove this project who make the story great In Monte Reel’s A Brotherhood of Spies from Doubleday Publishing we learn how “four men working in secret upended the Cold War and carved a new mission for the CIA” Mr Reel builds this well researched exuisitely written story around Edwin Land Kelly Johnson Richard Bissell and Francis Gary Powers I have never been as glued to a history book as I was to A Brotherhood of Spies It read like a novel while being packed full of information and fascinating character sketches I cannot recommend Mr Reel’s book enough A Brotherhood of Spies satisfied on all fronts engineering historical political and personal A Brotherhood of Spies by Monte Reel uses the lives of four men to chart the course of the Lockheed U 2 project and also the early days of the Cold War Each man is fascinating in his own right but Mr Reel delves further into the story We get information about their families their colleagues their processes their ambitions and their preferred alcoholic drinks The meticulous research that Mr Reel did is evident in the sheer amount of information he provides us about each man which made the history come alive for me Of the four I enjoyed reading about Edwin Land the most but each was fascinating in his own right Although the book focuses on these four men the cast of characters is large but not overdone Careful attention is paid to everyone that appears in this book No one even Nikita Khruschev – who in lesser hands would have been a mustache twirling villian – got the one dimensional treatment Francis Gary Power Francis Gary Powers the downed U 2 pilot who was also jailed by the Soviet Union receives a compassionate portrait in A Brotherhood of Spies The public and the government treated Powers like a traitor after the incident and his life never recovered Since he didn’t suicide and destroy the plane he failed his mission according to public perception In reality he reacted as most people would and the derision he received was too harsh Mr Reel portrayed him fairly and justly by telling Powers story with the high level of scrutiny it needed The US traded a Soviet spy for Powers and the movie Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks portrayed half of the other side of Powers trade Mr Reel tells Powers side of the story here in A Brotherhood of Spies with much needed perspective Research I loved this book from page one to the end The notes are extensive and thorough but the bibliography shines Mr Reel provided a bibliography that is long and filled with enticing works In a world where I’m rich with nothing to do I’d read through that list It gave me a number of potential reads to scratch my Cold War itch Because the research is so thorough the book exudes information on each page Before A Brotherhood of Spies I didn’t know how the Groom Lake test facility started Throughout the book Mr Reel covers the U 2s usage throughout Cold War history and under different presidents and due to the extensive research it feels as if Mr Reel lived through the time itself Writing At the beginning of my copy the publisher asked that reviewers use no direct uotes until the final copy is published This frustrated me because the book is very uotable The writing deserves to be excerpted and shared but I will respect the publisher’s wishes Even though this is a history book it read like a memoir written in third person perspective The narrative hooked me and delivered information without losing tension I raced home from work to finish the last bits of this book and I already placed this near the top of my re read list Mr Reel didn’t just convey information in A Brotherhood of Spies; he told the story of the aircraft and the men who brought into being I tell anyone who enjoys fiction that this is the nonfiction book for them Conclusion A Brotherhood of Spies leads the non fiction stack for book of the year for me It and The Gone World are competing for best book and the calendar says there’s nine months left in the year Mr Reel created a compassionate holistic look at the America during the Cold War by focusing on the U 2 and the four men who drove its creation and notoriety A Brotherhood of Spies hooked me from opening and held on till the last sentence It scratched the itch for a spy thriller while providing historical perspective on tense times in the US’s history This highly readable account of the development of one of America’s longest operating intelligence gathering aircraft should be widely read I loved A Brotherhood of Spies and think you will too Highly recommended95 out of 10


  4. Phrodrick Phrodrick says:

    Full disclosure first Mine is an advanced copy of the paperback A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War It was a prize given to me through a GoodReads give away Under the rules and as was explained I was not obligated to read or review the book It was suggested that an honest review of the book would be considered the polite thing to doBecause this is a pre release copy Every page number in the Table of Contents is page 123 it has no index every foot note is numbered 000 and there are no pictures Given the centrality of pictures in this history and the singular role of Polaroid’s founder Edward Land at least to honor him the absence of pictures is something the final copy had better correctBottom line first While well written and thought provoking I doubt that there is much new in Monte Reel’s A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War It is likely best for the reader who needs a single book that provides this level of detail For any number of specialists historians aircraft enthusiasts even psychology students it is at best an introMany of us have read somethings about the U2 shoot down and USSoviet politics Many remember the key role of the U2 in the Cuban missile crisis Back in the 70’s I read Francis Gary Power’s Operation Overflight A Memoir of the U 2 Incident and the mirror book on his “trading partner” Abel Biography of Colonel Rudolf Abel Besides these books and any of several period histories and biographies; I repeat that there is little new here except that so much of ‘it’ is collected hereMy biggest uibble with the book is the title We do meet a few men who as individuals and as the inner leadership of the U 2 team achieved some very great things together There is little of anything that reads like a Brotherhood Further it is only by playing with words that these people can be described as spies The afore mentioned Col Rudolf Abel was a full time spy and enters the book briefly because he had been caught at spying against the US for his homeland the Soviet Union No sense of comradery or brotherliness is developed other than among the top three people who dominate the book Very little of what the re patriated U2 pilot would experience speaks of a brotherhoodOf the top three CIA man Richard Bissell is the most problematic As the make it happen man of the U2 ‘s design and production days he is a prodigiously effective logistician and master of all tasks Had this program and the future CIA directorate of Science and Technology been his entire legacy Mr Bissell would be another example of an American Heroes none of us know about Unfortunately he became deeply involved in many covert operations including the almost comic efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro the Bay of Pigs and a number of other operations that today give the CIA such a mixed reputation Bissell can be said to symbolize Mr Reels central uestion What are the moral aspects of peace time espionage? Focusing on the U2 itself as the center of this narrative the conundrum become starkAbsent the intel from these overflights America would not have the hard data needed to relate Soviet intentions to Soviet capabilities The proof of this is the fact that U2 pictures over Cuba gave America the time to change to Cold War in favor of peace However the overflights were understood to be illegal and could have been sufficient to start the war they actually helped to prevent Before leaving the U2 a word about the Lockheed Shunk Works This place is legendary Not just because it was in Area 51 where the U2s were built and proved in record time the Skunk Works and its driving chief engineer Kelly Johnson did things for this country that demand respect In Monte Reel’s book we get a few glimpses into the legitimately ‘Golly Gee’ achievements of this team but not near enough The fact that the U2 began its service life in the 1950s and is still performing duties no drone or satellite can be trusted to achieve is an achievement with few if any parallel in aircraft history Almost all of us remember if vaguely a man named Edward Land and his then ground breaking instant cameras Few myself included had heard of him as an American industrial leader with than just profits as his guide In Brotherhood Land stands out as a man conflicted by the duplicity his work in espionage technology entailed but fundamentally insistent that corporations have a duty to stand for values even at the expense of profit The second and almost incidental hypothesis in the Brotherhood is America’s emergence as a master in the technology of espionage Classically the spy’s job was to see hear and or steal things by going in close or operating through others who would have first person access on the ‘goods’ Along with the U2 and often based on the work leadership of the same people satellite intel and drones would get their start


  5. Pamela Pamela says:

    GREAT READ A bit over zealous in detail at times but otherwise EXCELLENT Full Review to come


  6. Donna Davis Donna Davis says:

    35 stars rounded up Thanks go to Net Galley and Doubleday for the DRC which I received free and early in exchange for this honest reviewThe story begins with a US spy plane being shot down over Soviet Russian airspace in 1960 This is embarrassing Eisenhower’s people decide to make something up; after all nobody survives an airplane crash over dry land Moreover the pilot was provided with a cyanide capsule—James Bond style—so even if he survived he must be dead; likewise the plane was likely blown to bits with not much left for the Soviet investigators to learn Let’s say it was a weather plane It wandered off course and those mean Soviets shot it down But oh dear this is even embarrassing the pilot lived and he didn’t feel like taking the poison pill Would you? So the Russians know what he was flying and they know who he is They’re telling the worldJust reading the teaser for this book I was hooked But just as a brilliant writer can take dross and make a good tale of it so can an indifferent one take compelling information and make it into a snooze For me this was not an entertaining read I had agreed to write about it so I had to read it and it felt like work I want to be fair here there are people that will read this book and like it There’s a lot of technical information about the spy plane and about many other spy planes some of which were never built Apart from the truly bizarre one that was supposed to be landed on its belly no landing gear or the ridiculous idea of a nuclear powered plane I found my attention drifting during these descriptions But I am not interested in aviation and if you are you may like this The other aspect that causes my attention to wander is the history 101 aspect of it I’m a retired history teacher I don’t need an author to walk me through the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs However I note that other reviewers came to this work with no knowledge of either and they are delighted to be clued in For newbies count this as a winFinally I have to credit the source work Reel didn’t take the easy way out His end notes are first rateFor those that are relatively new to this chapter of American history this may be a compelling read For those interested in the history of American aviation it is recommended For those that are well read in the field maybe not This book is now for sale


  7. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    This is a recent page turning account of the Francis Gary Powers U 2 affair of the early sixties set within the context of a history of the cold war until the seventies It also includes a review of the early history of the CIA and the biographies of Powers and his wife as well as of the creators of the spy plane Edwin Land of Polaroid and Kelly Johnson of LockheedWay back in grade school while up at grandmother's Michigan cottage I read another early account of the downing of Powers' U 2 over the Soviet Union a copy of that book having been left behind there by some grown up guest This book however while being a refresher is much thorough than its predecessor much information withheld then having been revealed sinceI strongly recommend this for anyone interested in the history and cultural climate in the United States during the cold war years


  8. Jerome Jerome says:

    An interesting well written history of the U 2’s development its overflights the Gary Powers incident and its aftermathThe book doesn’t have any new information but Reel provides a great introduction to the project and makes it very readable He also does a good job tying other threads into the story such as McCarthyism the ethics of espionage and the issue of classic HUMINT versus the new technology The people he mainly focuses on are Bissell Land Johnson and PowersThere is little background on early American reconnaissance systems and perhaps too much attention is given to the Powers flight versus the wider story of the program The description of the U 2’s technology can sometimes feel like a chore Also sometimes Reel will walk you through events that the reader may or may not be familiar with; if you are familiar with them the level of detail can be annoying like the Cuban Missile Crisis and another such tangent involves Stewart Alsop's honey traps in Moscow And despite the title Reel doesn’t really develop any real connections or camaraderie among the people behind the design Also we don’t really get a good glimpse into the revolutionary innovations being made at Skunk Works He also seems to get into the morality of intelligence work a bit too much and sometimes it seems like Reel genuinely believes using the U 2 was some kind of moral dilemma Reel also argues somewhat unconvincingly that the government's high praise for the U 2 program despite the Gary Powers incident emboldened Richard Bissell to launch aggressive covert actions ie Lumumba Castroetc and then goes on a distracting tangent detailing the stories of these episodesThere's also some errors here and there mostly nitpicks At one point Reel writes that Curtis LeMay wasn't interested in the U 2 because it was unarmed and because he didn't like Land But the Air Force already had a contract for a reconnaissance aircraft at the time the X 16 and not many people were cleared to know about it After the CIA finalized its U 2 contract the Air Force canceled the X 16 program He also writes that the NRO was formed in 1960 it was the year after Reel also writes that Allen Dulles retired even though JFK actually fired him When writing about the Glienicke Bridge meeting where Powers was swapped for Rudolf Abel Reel refers to Joe Murphy as a U 2 pilot he was a security officerStill a well researched compelling work


  9. Don Don says:

    A terrific informative enjoyable readWhile I've always enjoyed reading about history much of my reading has been focused on Constitutional era United States history As such I've read very little on 20th century US history so while I was aware of the general topics of this book the U 2 spy plane development Francis Gary Powers being shot down in the Soviety Union while flying the Bay of Pigs Cuban Missile Crisis I didn't have the detail that this book provided Reel focuses and structures the book by primarily detailing the role of four primary individuals in the development and usage of the U 2 plane Richard Bissell who worked with the CIA; Edwin Land founder of Polaroid who pushes for synergizing efforts between the government and sciencetechnology; Kelly Johnson the primary engineer with Lockheed responsible for designing the plan; and Frank Powers the pilot of the planeThrough these four individuals Reel relays the story of the decision making to begin using technology for spying on other nations the development of the technology and the debates over its usage by these individuals and the various decisions makers in the Eisenhower and then Kennedy administrations In addition as the CIA was still a fledgling agency at the time these efforts were beginning Reel shares anecdotes of naivete that are almost incredulous to think about today but provided moments of humor while readingHowever Reel's book makes clear how uickly the CIA become so indispensable to administrations and foreign policy discussions Truly it is amazing to consider how many felt no need for the agency in the post WWII era and then within 15 years after the war it was knee deep in tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States as well as involved in various schemesplotsfiascos in Latin America as a result of the escalating Cold WarReel's writing is strong; as a reader you can't help but notice the humanity of the individuals involved and you get a true sense of their struggles their conflicts their dilemmas This is most evident in Frank Powers who endured much in the name of a government who didn't uite know how to acknowledge and accept the spying it was doing let alone a public that seemed tethered between outright fear of nuclear war and a moral righteousnessThere is much to unpack in Reel's work and his writing is accessible and very readable making the book read almost as a mystery novel while still providing much information and historical context A fantastic read one of the better books I've read this year


  10. Dan Dan says:

    I was initially puzzled by the polarized early ratings on this book five 5s and five 1s After looking at some web sites devoted to history of aerial reconnaissance I found that the U 2 story is one of controversy and strong opinions My take on the book is that it is an even handed history of the U 2 program including the controversies associated with it and the CIA I found it very interesting although I am not entirely unbiased My father's cousin Jack Gibbs was an Air Force jet pilot and aeronautical engineer whom I idolized as a kid Not long ago I learned that from 1956 to 1958 he served as senior Military Advisor overseeing the U 2 operations pilot training research and development upgrades while reporting to former DNRO Richard Bissel uoted from a 2011 National Reconnaissance Office press release titled NRO Selects 2010 Class of Pioneers The photo below shows me with cousin Jack in 1956


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10 thoughts on “A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War

  1. J.S. J.S. says:

    This is a fascinating and very readable account of the events surrounding the U 2 spy plane Focusing mainly on four important characters Monte Reel shows how the US entered the world of spy craft during an intense period of the Cold WarIn the mid 1950s there was great concern over the perceived missile gap It was believed that the USSR had developed far nuclear missiles than the US and that America was at imminent risk It must be remembered that many at the time expected nuclear weapons would certainly be used The problem was that there was little evidence or knowledge of the actual state of things in the Soviet Union and America didn't have a knowledgeable spy network Instead of developing a human system of informants which would have taken a lot of time a technological solution was devisedEdwin Land the inventor of the Polaroid camera was enlisted to develop a camera that could produce detailed photos from a great altitude and Kelly Johnson of Lockheed came up with a very unconventional plane that would fly above 70000 feet Richard Bissell of the CIA was charged with overseeing the operation which was kept out of the military to avoid the appearance of an overt act of war It was believed that the U 2 would fly so high that it wouldn't be detected by Soviet radar Unfortunately the U 2 was detected on its very first flight And while Soviet fighter jets couldn't fly high enough to shoot them down Nikita Khrushchev saw the invasion of Soviet airspace as an act of war But the information gathered by the U 2 flights turned out to be a goldmine of information for the US until May 1 1960 when U 2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the USSR It was believed that neither the pilot nor the plane would survive from such a height but Powers survived relatively unhurt and many incriminating parts of the plane were recovered As I said before this is a very fascinating account I came away with an appreciation for not only the men who built and flew the U 2 even though some of them weren't always very noble but a better understanding of some of the pressures the leaders of both countries faced And I especially gained a greater appreciation for the plane itself Several years ago I saw one at an airshow at Edwards AFB next to an SR 71 Blackbird in fact and was stunned at what a weird looking plane it was both of them actually This is a book I highly recommend for those who enjoy reading about the Cold War I rec'd an advance copy of the book through Vine

  2. Paul Paul says:

    A Brotherhood of Spies tells the captivating story of the “marrying of espionage with high tech innovation” This is an essential read when trying to understand the original mission of the CIA and the ethical and technological foundations of modern spy craft Reel’s narrative poses several uestions about the modern tactics of war An enlightening readThank you to NetGalley Doubleday Books and Monte Reel for a copy for reviewFull review can be found here check out all my reviews

  3. Eric Eric says:

    TL;DR A Brotherhood of Spies is an information packed readable history of the early days of the Cold War 9510 Highly Recommended Disclosure Doubleday Books provided an advanced electronic copy in exchange for an honest review Review cross posted at my website PrimmLife Review The Lockheed U 2 occupies a uniue spot in both aerospace and military history Operated by the US Air Force but property of the Central Intelligence Agency the U 2 wrested technology from the military to put it into the hands of the fledgling intelligence community The CIA wouldn’t be the lovable spy palace it is today if not for the Lockheed U 2 It’s development challenged the aerospace engineering world to produce a high flying surveillance craft so that the US could spy on the Soviet Union In order to achieve its mission reuirements it deviated from common military design practices uickly the U 2 made a name for itself gathering intelligence and in its high profile crash into the Soviet Union While the development and operation provide noteworthy stories it’s the people that drove this project who make the story great In Monte Reel’s A Brotherhood of Spies from Doubleday Publishing we learn how “four men working in secret upended the Cold War and carved a new mission for the CIA” Mr Reel builds this well researched exuisitely written story around Edwin Land Kelly Johnson Richard Bissell and Francis Gary Powers I have never been as glued to a history book as I was to A Brotherhood of Spies It read like a novel while being packed full of information and fascinating character sketches I cannot recommend Mr Reel’s book enough A Brotherhood of Spies satisfied on all fronts engineering historical political and personal A Brotherhood of Spies by Monte Reel uses the lives of four men to chart the course of the Lockheed U 2 project and also the early days of the Cold War Each man is fascinating in his own right but Mr Reel delves further into the story We get information about their families their colleagues their processes their ambitions and their preferred alcoholic drinks The meticulous research that Mr Reel did is evident in the sheer amount of information he provides us about each man which made the history come alive for me Of the four I enjoyed reading about Edwin Land the most but each was fascinating in his own right Although the book focuses on these four men the cast of characters is large but not overdone Careful attention is paid to everyone that appears in this book No one even Nikita Khruschev – who in lesser hands would have been a mustache twirling villian – got the one dimensional treatment Francis Gary Power Francis Gary Powers the downed U 2 pilot who was also jailed by the Soviet Union receives a compassionate portrait in A Brotherhood of Spies The public and the government treated Powers like a traitor after the incident and his life never recovered Since he didn’t suicide and destroy the plane he failed his mission according to public perception In reality he reacted as most people would and the derision he received was too harsh Mr Reel portrayed him fairly and justly by telling Powers story with the high level of scrutiny it needed The US traded a Soviet spy for Powers and the movie Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks portrayed half of the other side of Powers trade Mr Reel tells Powers side of the story here in A Brotherhood of Spies with much needed perspective Research I loved this book from page one to the end The notes are extensive and thorough but the bibliography shines Mr Reel provided a bibliography that is long and filled with enticing works In a world where I’m rich with nothing to do I’d read through that list It gave me a number of potential reads to scratch my Cold War itch Because the research is so thorough the book exudes information on each page Before A Brotherhood of Spies I didn’t know how the Groom Lake test facility started Throughout the book Mr Reel covers the U 2s usage throughout Cold War history and under different presidents and due to the extensive research it feels as if Mr Reel lived through the time itself Writing At the beginning of my copy the publisher asked that reviewers use no direct uotes until the final copy is published This frustrated me because the book is very uotable The writing deserves to be excerpted and shared but I will respect the publisher’s wishes Even though this is a history book it read like a memoir written in third person perspective The narrative hooked me and delivered information without losing tension I raced home from work to finish the last bits of this book and I already placed this near the top of my re read list Mr Reel didn’t just convey information in A Brotherhood of Spies; he told the story of the aircraft and the men who brought into being I tell anyone who enjoys fiction that this is the nonfiction book for them Conclusion A Brotherhood of Spies leads the non fiction stack for book of the year for me It and The Gone World are competing for best book and the calendar says there’s nine months left in the year Mr Reel created a compassionate holistic look at the America during the Cold War by focusing on the U 2 and the four men who drove its creation and notoriety A Brotherhood of Spies hooked me from opening and held on till the last sentence It scratched the itch for a spy thriller while providing historical perspective on tense times in the US’s history This highly readable account of the development of one of America’s longest operating intelligence gathering aircraft should be widely read I loved A Brotherhood of Spies and think you will too Highly recommended95 out of 10

  4. Phrodrick Phrodrick says:

    Full disclosure first Mine is an advanced copy of the paperback A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War It was a prize given to me through a GoodReads give away Under the rules and as was explained I was not obligated to read or review the book It was suggested that an honest review of the book would be considered the polite thing to doBecause this is a pre release copy Every page number in the Table of Contents is page 123 it has no index every foot note is numbered 000 and there are no pictures Given the centrality of pictures in this history and the singular role of Polaroid’s founder Edward Land at least to honor him the absence of pictures is something the final copy had better correctBottom line first While well written and thought provoking I doubt that there is much new in Monte Reel’s A Brotherhood of Spies The U 2 and the CIA's Secret War It is likely best for the reader who needs a single book that provides this level of detail For any number of specialists historians aircraft enthusiasts even psychology students it is at best an introMany of us have read somethings about the U2 shoot down and USSoviet politics Many remember the key role of the U2 in the Cuban missile crisis Back in the 70’s I read Francis Gary Power’s Operation Overflight A Memoir of the U 2 Incident and the mirror book on his “trading partner” Abel Biography of Colonel Rudolf Abel Besides these books and any of several period histories and biographies; I repeat that there is little new here except that so much of ‘it’ is collected hereMy biggest uibble with the book is the title We do meet a few men who as individuals and as the inner leadership of the U 2 team achieved some very great things together There is little of anything that reads like a Brotherhood Further it is only by playing with words that these people can be described as spies The afore mentioned Col Rudolf Abel was a full time spy and enters the book briefly because he had been caught at spying against the US for his homeland the Soviet Union No sense of comradery or brotherliness is developed other than among the top three people who dominate the book Very little of what the re patriated U2 pilot would experience speaks of a brotherhoodOf the top three CIA man Richard Bissell is the most problematic As the make it happen man of the U2 ‘s design and production days he is a prodigiously effective logistician and master of all tasks Had this program and the future CIA directorate of Science and Technology been his entire legacy Mr Bissell would be another example of an American Heroes none of us know about Unfortunately he became deeply involved in many covert operations including the almost comic efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro the Bay of Pigs and a number of other operations that today give the CIA such a mixed reputation Bissell can be said to symbolize Mr Reels central uestion What are the moral aspects of peace time espionage? Focusing on the U2 itself as the center of this narrative the conundrum become starkAbsent the intel from these overflights America would not have the hard data needed to relate Soviet intentions to Soviet capabilities The proof of this is the fact that U2 pictures over Cuba gave America the time to change to Cold War in favor of peace However the overflights were understood to be illegal and could have been sufficient to start the war they actually helped to prevent Before leaving the U2 a word about the Lockheed Shunk Works This place is legendary Not just because it was in Area 51 where the U2s were built and proved in record time the Skunk Works and its driving chief engineer Kelly Johnson did things for this country that demand respect In Monte Reel’s book we get a few glimpses into the legitimately ‘Golly Gee’ achievements of this team but not near enough The fact that the U2 began its service life in the 1950s and is still performing duties no drone or satellite can be trusted to achieve is an achievement with few if any parallel in aircraft history Almost all of us remember if vaguely a man named Edward Land and his then ground breaking instant cameras Few myself included had heard of him as an American industrial leader with than just profits as his guide In Brotherhood Land stands out as a man conflicted by the duplicity his work in espionage technology entailed but fundamentally insistent that corporations have a duty to stand for values even at the expense of profit The second and almost incidental hypothesis in the Brotherhood is America’s emergence as a master in the technology of espionage Classically the spy’s job was to see hear and or steal things by going in close or operating through others who would have first person access on the ‘goods’ Along with the U2 and often based on the work leadership of the same people satellite intel and drones would get their start

  5. Pamela Pamela says:

    GREAT READ A bit over zealous in detail at times but otherwise EXCELLENT Full Review to come

  6. Donna Davis Donna Davis says:

    35 stars rounded up Thanks go to Net Galley and Doubleday for the DRC which I received free and early in exchange for this honest reviewThe story begins with a US spy plane being shot down over Soviet Russian airspace in 1960 This is embarrassing Eisenhower’s people decide to make something up; after all nobody survives an airplane crash over dry land Moreover the pilot was provided with a cyanide capsule—James Bond style—so even if he survived he must be dead; likewise the plane was likely blown to bits with not much left for the Soviet investigators to learn Let’s say it was a weather plane It wandered off course and those mean Soviets shot it down But oh dear this is even embarrassing the pilot lived and he didn’t feel like taking the poison pill Would you? So the Russians know what he was flying and they know who he is They’re telling the worldJust reading the teaser for this book I was hooked But just as a brilliant writer can take dross and make a good tale of it so can an indifferent one take compelling information and make it into a snooze For me this was not an entertaining read I had agreed to write about it so I had to read it and it felt like work I want to be fair here there are people that will read this book and like it There’s a lot of technical information about the spy plane and about many other spy planes some of which were never built Apart from the truly bizarre one that was supposed to be landed on its belly no landing gear or the ridiculous idea of a nuclear powered plane I found my attention drifting during these descriptions But I am not interested in aviation and if you are you may like this The other aspect that causes my attention to wander is the history 101 aspect of it I’m a retired history teacher I don’t need an author to walk me through the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs However I note that other reviewers came to this work with no knowledge of either and they are delighted to be clued in For newbies count this as a winFinally I have to credit the source work Reel didn’t take the easy way out His end notes are first rateFor those that are relatively new to this chapter of American history this may be a compelling read For those interested in the history of American aviation it is recommended For those that are well read in the field maybe not This book is now for sale

  7. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    This is a recent page turning account of the Francis Gary Powers U 2 affair of the early sixties set within the context of a history of the cold war until the seventies It also includes a review of the early history of the CIA and the biographies of Powers and his wife as well as of the creators of the spy plane Edwin Land of Polaroid and Kelly Johnson of LockheedWay back in grade school while up at grandmother's Michigan cottage I read another early account of the downing of Powers' U 2 over the Soviet Union a copy of that book having been left behind there by some grown up guest This book however while being a refresher is much thorough than its predecessor much information withheld then having been revealed sinceI strongly recommend this for anyone interested in the history and cultural climate in the United States during the cold war years

  8. Jerome Jerome says:

    An interesting well written history of the U 2’s development its overflights the Gary Powers incident and its aftermathThe book doesn’t have any new information but Reel provides a great introduction to the project and makes it very readable He also does a good job tying other threads into the story such as McCarthyism the ethics of espionage and the issue of classic HUMINT versus the new technology The people he mainly focuses on are Bissell Land Johnson and PowersThere is little background on early American reconnaissance systems and perhaps too much attention is given to the Powers flight versus the wider story of the program The description of the U 2’s technology can sometimes feel like a chore Also sometimes Reel will walk you through events that the reader may or may not be familiar with; if you are familiar with them the level of detail can be annoying like the Cuban Missile Crisis and another such tangent involves Stewart Alsop's honey traps in Moscow And despite the title Reel doesn’t really develop any real connections or camaraderie among the people behind the design Also we don’t really get a good glimpse into the revolutionary innovations being made at Skunk Works He also seems to get into the morality of intelligence work a bit too much and sometimes it seems like Reel genuinely believes using the U 2 was some kind of moral dilemma Reel also argues somewhat unconvincingly that the government's high praise for the U 2 program despite the Gary Powers incident emboldened Richard Bissell to launch aggressive covert actions ie Lumumba Castroetc and then goes on a distracting tangent detailing the stories of these episodesThere's also some errors here and there mostly nitpicks At one point Reel writes that Curtis LeMay wasn't interested in the U 2 because it was unarmed and because he didn't like Land But the Air Force already had a contract for a reconnaissance aircraft at the time the X 16 and not many people were cleared to know about it After the CIA finalized its U 2 contract the Air Force canceled the X 16 program He also writes that the NRO was formed in 1960 it was the year after Reel also writes that Allen Dulles retired even though JFK actually fired him When writing about the Glienicke Bridge meeting where Powers was swapped for Rudolf Abel Reel refers to Joe Murphy as a U 2 pilot he was a security officerStill a well researched compelling work

  9. Don Don says:

    A terrific informative enjoyable readWhile I've always enjoyed reading about history much of my reading has been focused on Constitutional era United States history As such I've read very little on 20th century US history so while I was aware of the general topics of this book the U 2 spy plane development Francis Gary Powers being shot down in the Soviety Union while flying the Bay of Pigs Cuban Missile Crisis I didn't have the detail that this book provided Reel focuses and structures the book by primarily detailing the role of four primary individuals in the development and usage of the U 2 plane Richard Bissell who worked with the CIA; Edwin Land founder of Polaroid who pushes for synergizing efforts between the government and sciencetechnology; Kelly Johnson the primary engineer with Lockheed responsible for designing the plan; and Frank Powers the pilot of the planeThrough these four individuals Reel relays the story of the decision making to begin using technology for spying on other nations the development of the technology and the debates over its usage by these individuals and the various decisions makers in the Eisenhower and then Kennedy administrations In addition as the CIA was still a fledgling agency at the time these efforts were beginning Reel shares anecdotes of naivete that are almost incredulous to think about today but provided moments of humor while readingHowever Reel's book makes clear how uickly the CIA become so indispensable to administrations and foreign policy discussions Truly it is amazing to consider how many felt no need for the agency in the post WWII era and then within 15 years after the war it was knee deep in tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States as well as involved in various schemesplotsfiascos in Latin America as a result of the escalating Cold WarReel's writing is strong; as a reader you can't help but notice the humanity of the individuals involved and you get a true sense of their struggles their conflicts their dilemmas This is most evident in Frank Powers who endured much in the name of a government who didn't uite know how to acknowledge and accept the spying it was doing let alone a public that seemed tethered between outright fear of nuclear war and a moral righteousnessThere is much to unpack in Reel's work and his writing is accessible and very readable making the book read almost as a mystery novel while still providing much information and historical context A fantastic read one of the better books I've read this year

  10. Dan Dan says:

    I was initially puzzled by the polarized early ratings on this book five 5s and five 1s After looking at some web sites devoted to history of aerial reconnaissance I found that the U 2 story is one of controversy and strong opinions My take on the book is that it is an even handed history of the U 2 program including the controversies associated with it and the CIA I found it very interesting although I am not entirely unbiased My father's cousin Jack Gibbs was an Air Force jet pilot and aeronautical engineer whom I idolized as a kid Not long ago I learned that from 1956 to 1958 he served as senior Military Advisor overseeing the U 2 operations pilot training research and development upgrades while reporting to former DNRO Richard Bissel uoted from a 2011 National Reconnaissance Office press release titled NRO Selects 2010 Class of Pioneers The photo below shows me with cousin Jack in 1956

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