What People are saying


What People are saying

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"Josh Dean has a gift for unearthing remarkable stories lost to history, and in The Taking of K-129 he has uncovered perhaps the most remarkable one of all—a story replete with spies and engineering marvels and a secret drama unfolding thousands of feet beneath the sea. Brilliantly researched and beautifully written, this is a book you can't put down."

—David Grann, journalist and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon.

“From the depths of the Pacific and the depths of CIA covert operations comes an absorbing tale of daring engineers and shadowy espionage. A terrific read." 

David E. Hoffman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the national bestseller The Billion Dollar Spy

"The Taking of K-129 is a riveting account of the American intelligence community at work. Told in fascinating detail, this is nonfiction at its best, because with every page I had to remind myself this actually happened."

—Kevin Maurer, journalist and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller No Easy Day

As a former submariner and navy diver, I give Josh Dean an A+ for The Taking of K-129. This non-fiction account of one of the most dangerous and daring missions of the Cold War is well-researched and reads like a Tom Clancy thriller. 

W. Craig Reed, New York Times bestselling author of Red November

"If you’ve been hungry for a submarine tale in the league of The Hunt For Red October, but subscribe to the belief that the truth is stranger than fiction, you’ll devour The Taking of K-129. Josh Dean has done a masterful job raising this true story from the depths of the Cold War,  and delivering an epic befitting the top shelf of espionage and military reads. Prepare for impact—you won’t be able to put this one down."

Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless, Legend, and The Only Thing Worth Dying For.

"Espionage is risky; unprecedented, extreme risk is the theme of The Taking of K-129, Josh Dean's engrossing recounting of the clandestine raising of a Soviet submarine from ocean's floor.  From first hand accounts of those who conducted the five-year covert operation of seemingly unmanageable risk—risk of life, risk of technology, risk of public disclosure, risk of war—this account of shadowy intrigue, precision engineering, and ultra-deception reveals the extent to which governments go to acquire vital intelligence. Beyond fiction, The Taking of K-129 is a high-stakes espionage drama of operational boldness married with technical brilliance."

Robert Wallace, author of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to al-Qaeda, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception and Spy Sites of Washington, DC.

"Josh Dean’s “The Taking of K-129: How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History” is an absorbing, suspenseful chronicle of a remarkable Cold War episode."

Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2017

"The Taking of K-129 is a worthwhile addition to the shelves of military history buffs, nautical enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys a well-told story."

USA Today, September 18, 2017

"One of the most astonishing covert operations in U.S. history is detailed by author Josh Dean in “The Taking of K-129." The tale [is] a spy story on steroids."

New York Daily News, August 20, 2017

"Meticulous account of an audacious covert operation to snatch a sunken Russian submarine…A well-researched, mostly engrossing geopolitical narrative of American ingenuity in the face of Russian threats."

Kirkus Reviews

“A fast-moving account of the most daring deep sea recovery ever attempted. Project Azorian—CIA’s covert operation to recover a sunken Soviet nuclear ballistic missile submarine from three miles under the Pacific Ocean—was conducted in absolute secrecy, all under the watchful eyes of the Soviet Navy. With the driving pace of a thriller, Dean’s lively and detailed narrative draws on eyewitness accounts and the latest materials released by the CIA itself. Fascinating.” 

Peter Earnest, Founding Executive Director of the International Spy Museum and former Senior CIA Officer


A Cold War espionage story that seems implausible yet is still true. The stellar research Dean uses to tell this captivating tale includes declassified primary documents, personal journals, and autobiographies…Recommended for fans of naval history, marine engineering, and spy stories.

—The Library Journal