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The CIA and the Raising of the K-129
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591146681
  • Binding: Paperback & Ebook
  • Era: 20th Century
  • Number of Pages: 264
  • Subject: Espionage
  • Date Available: September 2012
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"In describing an effort similar in ambition to that of the moon landing, this book is a masterpiece of scholarship. It delves into all details of the planning, execution and aftermath of Project Azorian, which is the correct name of the long misidentified operation. It is an endeavor the likes of which may not be seen again for a long time."

Signal Magazine online, 1 December 2012

In early August 1974, despite incredible risks and after six years of secret preparations, the CIA attempted to salvage the sunken Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 from the depths of the North Pacific Ocean. The audacious effort was undertaken with the cover of an undersea mining operation sponsored by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

“Azorian”—incorrectly identified as Project Jennifer by the press—was the most ambitious ocean engineering endeavor attempted by man. Following the accidental sinking of a Soviet missile submarine in March 1968, U.S. intelligence agencies were able to determine the precise location and to develop a means of raising the submarine from a depth of 16,400 feet. The remarkable salvage effort of the K-129, which contained nuclear-armed torpedoes and one nuclear tipped missile as well as crypto equipment, was conducted with Soviet naval ships a few hundred yards from the lift ship, the Hughes Glomar Explorer.

The book is based, in part, on the research for Michael White’ documentary film Azorian: The Raising of the K-129, released in late 2009. The research for the book and the documentary forced the CIA to issue a brief report on Project Azorian in early 2010, with one-third of the document redacted.

Norman Polmar is an internationally known analyst, consultant, and award-winning author specializing in the naval, aviation, and intelligence areas. He has participated in or directed major studies in these areas for the U.S. Department of Defense and Navy, and served as a consultant to U.S. and foreign commercial firms and government agencies. He has been an advisor or consultant on naval issues to three U.S. Secretaries of the Navy and two Chiefs of Naval Operations, as well as to three U.S. Senators and a Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is the author or coauthor of more than 50 published books, including nine editions of Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet and four editions of Guide to the Soviet Navy as well as U.S. Nuclear ArsenalShip Killer, and Project Azorian. Mr. Polmar writes regularly for Proceedings and was a columnist for the magazine for over thirty-eight years. He also writes for Naval History magazine. Polmar is a resident of Alexandria, VA.

Michael White has worked in film and television for more than thirty-six years. His career in special and visual effects began in 1976 at Pinewood Studios. After an extensive film career in England, in 1990 he moved to Vienna, which he uses as a base to work internationally as a documentary director and producer. His film Web site is

Praise for Project Azorian

"As well as being probably the final word on AZORIAN, Polmar and White add plenty of fresh detail, such as the CIA’s embarrassment when the Hughes Glomar Explorer discreetly docked in Valparaiso just as a military coup was launched to topple Chile’s President Salvatore Allende. In another awkward moment the local union in Long Beach picketed the ship and harassed visitors to enforce a demand for the crew’s union membership. The authors also recount the temporary disappearance of souvenirs, including a Soviet hammer and sickle naval belt-buckle which was returned when the management made an appeal to the sailors. Such side-plots bring to life a beautifully illustrated, fascinating account of one of the Cold War’s strangest events which performs the very helpful function of neatly disposes of a dozen well-embedded intelligence myths."

International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Volume 24, Issue 3, 2011

“Here, the untold story of the CIA’s Project Azorian is finally revealed after decades of secrecy.”

— The Washington Times

“This is a must read for all of you that were or wished you were in the exciting, dangerous, previously highly-classified, submarine component of the Cold War.”

— Naval Historical Foundation

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