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Operation Ivy Bells: A Mac McDowell Mission--Trailer

Trailer for the new edition of Operation Ivy Bells: A Mac McDowell Mission.



     A super-secret, off-the-books spy organization; a security-clearance starting at Top Secret and going up from there; an attack by giant squid during a thousand-foot dive while breathing an exotic gas; a cat’s whisker escape from death during a three-day decompression – and that’s just the first two chapters of Operation Ivy Bells, before the action really gets underway. 
    In a fast-paced, personal narrative, J.R. “Mac” MacDowell details a breathtaking series of events during a super-secret intelligence gathering operation at the height of the Cold War. Riding the nuclear submarine Halibut, Mac and his saturation diving team surreptitiously enter the Soviet-controlled Sea of Okhotsk on a proof-of-concept mission. They install a tap on an underwater communications cable at 400 feet, and narrowly escape death when a storm snaps Halibut’s anchor cables. They retrieve missile parts from a Soviet missile-test splash-zone, getting caught in a sonar-web set by the crafty skipper of an old Soviet diesel submarine. Mac’s divers temporarily disable the sub, and Halibut escapes to Guam, dogged by the sub Skipper.
​     Having proved the concept, they return in a Halibut outfitted with skids so she can sit on the bottom to attach a 12-thousand-pound pod to the cable for future retrieval. In the missile splash-zone, they lock in deadly underwater combat with Soviet divers. With the free world at stake, they capture one and kill the rest. Halibut’s submariners and saturation divers finally return home without ever publicly revealing their crucial contribution to winning the Cold War, receiving an unpublicized Presidential Unit Citation.

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Praise for Operation Ivy Bells

     Over the past few decades action-adventure stories about submarines and diving have become a popular genre.  Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler come to mind as exemplars.  But Robert Williscroft really raises the bar with this book.  Not only is he an outstanding writer but he is also a 'doer,' having participated in the events described in Operation Ivy Bells.

  • Navy Capt. Don Walsh, PhD
    First Skipper of the Bathyscaph Trieste

     Magnificently written! A powerful and riveting account of the cold war fought beneath the oceans by the world’s most famous enemies. Bristles with the same hair-raising authenticity that launched The Hunt for Red October to world notoriety. The factual and detailed descriptions are so realistic they submerge you deep in the ocean depths and make you feel a part of the sub’s crew on a remarkable mission told by veteran submariner, Robert Williscroft, who details an almost unimaginable war of nerves under the most trying conditions, and of the men who possess the incredible capabilities to carry out this mission.

  • Martin H. Bloom, President
    The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles

     Robert Williscroft has produced quite a sea story, a colorful and enjoyable work that explains one of the little-known successes of the cold war, with plenty of fascinating detail about submarine and diving operations.

  • Tom Bowman
    NPR Pentagon Reporter

     Cold war veterans will love this exciting submarine adventure! Dr. Williscroft brings readers along for a thrilling odyssey in which engaging characters experience the danger, passion and complexity of the underwater warrior’s world!

  • Navy Capt. Kathleen Hoff
    Arctic Explorer

     An exciting look into Cold War submarine espionage...I was completely riveted to the book’s suspense and action...amazingly based on true events. It was incredible to read about isolated, underwater hand-to-hand battles that took place in secret during the Cold War... Highly recommend!

  • Marc Weitz, Past President
    The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles

     A great story...the author has done the essential, crafting a narrative that yanked me out of my seat like the big squid! I was grabbed!!! This is what they call a break-out book...

  • Ed Offley, Author of Scorpion Down,
    The Burning Shore & Turning the Tide

     For those who have an interest in cold war secrets this is a must read. Some minor details and names have been changed, but most of it is pretty close to the real deal...Close as you can get without going to jail. My source of information? Memory – I was an Ivy Bells submariner.

  • A USS Seawolf Sailor


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