Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 29 Oct 2014
Full Title: Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America
At the end of the European War, the United States made the decision to overlook the crimes committed by certain German scientists, engineers, and medical doctors in order to secure their knowledge and talent. Among those recruited were convicted war criminals, doctors who had experimented on concentration camp victims, and weapons engineers who made use of slave laborers. In the United States, these men became leaders in the American space program and discovered chemicals useful for jungle warfare in Vietnam. In Operation Paperclip, author Annie Jacobsen discussed this controversial topic that lasted from the final months of WW2 into the next few decades. The content was well researched and the narration was well written. She effectively presented the two diametrically opposite sides of these German experts, clearly evil yet undoubtedly talented, and the two sides that the United States leadership balanced, the need to back up the claims of being the moral leaders of the world and the need to keep up with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. She wrapped up the book with an appendix summarizing the war time exploits and post-war experiences of a number of Germans who either became a part of Operation Paperclip or were at least considered for Operation Paperclip; though cursory, I thought it was a nice addition.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format, which was read by the author Jacobsen. Many WW2DB visitors might already know that I would always enjoy authors reading their own books, for that no one would know the nuances of the words and sentences better than those who authored them. I thought Jacobsen did a fine job.
I found Operation Paperclip to be a good book on this topic. To say the least, it certainly re-sparked my interest in learning about how German talent contributed to the technological advances of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union.
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