SOCIAL SCIENCES

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America

Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 576p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780316221047. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316221054. HIST
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OrangeReviewStarAt the climax of World War II in Europe, the U.S. government searched for the intellectual bounty of the Third Reich even as the Allied services were hunting Nazi war criminals. So begins this chilling, compelling, and comprehensive accounting by Jacobsen (Area 51) of one of the most secretive of 20th-century U.S. intelligence programs. No, it wasn't a secret that German scientists and engineers came to America after the war, but the extent of their loyalty to the Nazi cause was kept hidden. As Jacobsen ably recounts, these men, including rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and physician Walter Schreiber, were ardent Nazis who participated in war crimes including experiments on humans and the use of slave labor to accomplish their goals for Hitler. They were then recruited by both Soviets and Americans to continue their work during the onset of the Cold War. The U.S. government turned a blind eye to these men's atrocities, helped them avoid justice at Nuremberg, and paid them considerably. In return? Among other things, America won the space race. Built upon archival records, court transcripts, declassified documents, and interviews, Jacobsen's impressive book plumbs the dark depths of this postwar recruiting and shows the historical truths behind the space race and postwar U.S. dominance.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers in World War II history, espionage, government cover-ups, or the Cold War. [See Prepub Alert, 9/1/13.]

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