“Compulsively readable laugh out loud history.” (Mary Roach)
The International Spy Museum’s Historian takes us on a wild tour of missions and schemes that almost happened, but were ultimately deemed too dangerous, expensive, ahead of their time, or even certifiably insane
In 1958, the US Air Force nuked the moon as a show of military force. In 1967, the CIA sent live cats to spy on the Soviet government. In 1942, the British built a torpedo-proof aircraft carrier out of an iceberg. Of course, none of these things ever actually happened. But in Nuking the Moon, intelligence historian Vince Houghton proves that abandoned plans can be just as illuminating – and every bit as entertaining – as the ones that made it.
Vividly capturing the fascinating stories of how 21 plans from WWII and the Cold War went from conception, planning, and testing to cancellation, Houghton explores what happens when innovation meets desperation: For every plan as good as D-Day, there’s a scheme to strap bombs to bats or dig a spy tunnel underneath the Soviet embassy. Along the way, he reveals what each one tells us about 20th-century history, the art of spycraft, military strategy, and famous figures like JFK, Castro, and Churchill. By turns terrifying and hilarious – but always riveting – this is the unique story of history left on the drawing board.