RECONNAISSANCE

Satellites

Books

R - Z

Richelson, Jeffrey T.

Ruffner, Kevin C., ed. CORONA: America's First Satellite Program. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 1995.

Skorve, Johnny. The Kola Satellite Image: Perspectives on Arms Control and Environmental Protection. Oslo, Norway: The Norwegian Atlantic Committee, 1991.

Surveillant 1.6: This work "shows that intelligence gathering can be easily accomplished by Landsat-TM images and presents 17 photos showing the Kola peninsula -- a location holding many of the Soviet Union's nuclear warheads. Each map is analyzed and one easily follows the development and growth of, first, Schagui Air Base from 1972 to 1988, and then Gremikha Naval Base."

Taubman, Philip. Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Umansky, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2003, comments that the story of how scientists broke through the barriers to reconnaissance from space "could make for a fascinating tale. But Secret Empire isn't it. Taubman ... is not a lively writer. And ... the book's characters blend into one -- an overachieving, patriotic man who loves flying.... [T]he book is mostly small-bore, resolutely sticking to a step-by-tiny-step history of the program. Frequently, the only obvious point seems to be to get it all down.... The result ... is often something only a satellite buff, or perhaps a product manager, could love."

The reviewer for Publishers Weekly, 17 Feb. 2003, has a different view, calling Taubman's work an "exciting, meticulously researched spy story.... [It] functions marvelously as a history of science, detailing the research, engineering and policy decisions behind the U2 and Corona, but it's also an excellent social history of the Cold War in the 1950s and early '60s. It's a page-turner as well."

Freedman, FA 82.3 (May-Jun. 2003), finds that "Taubman provides a wealth of detail..., based on many interviews and copious research. He weaves together complex strategic, organizational, and engineering issues, managing to convey the drama and excitement of a race to find some way of getting consistent and reliable intelligence on Soviet nuclear missiles at a time when the United States was widely assumed to be falling behind."

For Mahnken, NWCR 57.1, this "history of the strategic issues, politics, personalities, and technologies that drove the development of America's extraordinary space reconnaissance capability ... does a splendid job of interpreting the significance of the technical problems encountered and the brilliant ingenuity of the solutions." The author is "attuned to the importance of the enabling technologies and brings their role and impact to the reader’s understanding."

Day, IJI&C 17.4 (Winter 2004-2005), finds that this work is "[r]eadable and [provides] a decent overview of the subject.... But it is not original. It contains no information that could not be found in books written several years ago.... [In addition,] the book does not advance a more knowledgeable person's understanding of what happened during this period."

To Robarge, Studies 48.1, the author "has filled the 'if you read only one book on the subject, this is it' category. Secret Empire is an accessible, thorough (but not definitive) synthesis for the general reader." Bath, NIPQ 19.3, "strongly" recommends this work "to layman and specialist alike." Although the work "adds little new or startling to reconnaissance history," it pulls together "the many strands of the story into one coherent and highly readable volume."

Temple, L. Parker, III. Shades Of Gray: National Security and the Evolution of Space Reconnaissance. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2005.

Peake, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), finds that this work "presents a detailed, well-documented, top-down look at America's national space programs ... from 1947 to the present.... Lengthy discussions of the 'complex interactions' of various early collection systems are limited, however, by the glaring omissions of more recent SIGINT and PHOTINT systems.... For students of America's history in space, there is much to be digested. But Shades of Gray is not easy reading, and it lacks a thematic coherence that limits its value."

Time-Life Books. Editors. Electronic Spies - The New Face of War. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1991.

Yost, Graham. The CIA. New York: Facts on File, 1989.

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