Nuking the Moon: And Other Intelligence Schemes and Military Plots Left on the Drawing Board by Vince Houghton
In 1958, the US Air Force nuked the moon as a show of military might. In 1967, the CIA implanted recording devices in live cats and sent them into Russia as spies. In 1942, the British built an aircraft carrier made of ice and sawdust, impervious to German torpedoes. Of course, none of these things ever happened.
But in Nuking the Moon, intelligence historian Vincent Houghton shows us that what didn’t happen is just as illuminating, and every bit as engrossing. WWII and the Cold War were periods of desperation and innovation, a combination that led to brilliant missions and technological advances. But for every Argo or Operation Mincemeat, there were countless abandoned plans. Some are laughable, like the US Navy’s plan to train pigeons to pilot missiles; some are implausible, like the Kennedy administration’s plan to build a command center 4,000 feet underground; and some are legitimately terrifying, like the cornucopia of US plans to justify attacking Cuba. Through extensive archival research and expert interviews, Vincent Houghton has dug up more than thirty of these fascinating abandoned plans, and recounts the story behind each one in vivid, captivating detail, revealing not only what might have happened, but also what each one tells us about the history and people around it. The first-ever book to bring these historical episodes together, this wholly original work–alternatively terrifying and hilarious, but always riveting–is the unique story of history left on the drawing board.