In the dark days of the Cold War the American military conducted a secret air war against the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Flown by a handful of American crews, these photographic and intelligence gathering missions were a well-kept secret and unknown to the world at large. Initially, in the 1940s and 1950s, the Americans used converted bombers and transports to carry out these dangerous operations. The price of failure was high and unsuccessful missions were hushed up or reported as 'training accidents'. Later, the US developed the famed U-2 spyplane, an aircraft designed to fly higher than any other and thus ideal for the sinister world of espionage. The downing of Francis Gary Power's U-2 however blew the lid off the supersecret aerial war and heralded a new chapter in the history of the Cold War. Curtis Peebles, having investigated both American and Soviet sources, tackles this controversial issue in a cool and methodical manner, throwing light on a still secret and intriguing aspect of Super Power relations.
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