Nuking the Moon
The International Spy Museum's Historian takes us on a wild tour of missions, schemes, and weapons that were planned, but ultimately deemed too dangerous, expensive, ahead of their time, or even certifiably insaneIn 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.

Nuking the Moon Details

TitleNuking the Moon
Author
ReleaseMay 14th, 2019
PublisherPenguin Books
ISBN-139780525505174
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Science, War, Politics, Military Fiction

Nuking the Moon Review

  • Shane Hawk
    January 1, 1970
    Spook history from a spook historianSome very laughable moments when one realizes the full potential of our [clandestine] overseers’ incompetence. Houghton’s humor was not for me but made for an easier and informal read. It would’ve been more enjoyable for me if it weren’t for his giddiness for spies and arms, and his random tangents on Russian collusion and climate change. One can wholeheartedly feel the intelligence agencies’ input in this production and I should have figured that going into i Spook history from a spook historianSome very laughable moments when one realizes the full potential of our [clandestine] overseers’ incompetence. Houghton’s humor was not for me but made for an easier and informal read. It would’ve been more enjoyable for me if it weren’t for his giddiness for spies and arms, and his random tangents on Russian collusion and climate change. One can wholeheartedly feel the intelligence agencies’ input in this production and I should have figured that going into it.
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  • Jeremy Hunter
    January 1, 1970
    Nuking The Moon was an entertaining book about various military and intelligence plans that never got off the drawing board. Most of the schemes discussed fell into the categories of too expensive or ridiculous. Houghton writes about CIA plans to use housecats as listening devices, unsupervised nuclear weapons floating out at sea, and spray painting foxes in dayglo colors to scare the Japanese people. At times, this book runs the gamut of frightening and hilarious.
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  • Dayna
    January 1, 1970
    What a marvelous dinner guest Mr. Houghton must be! This book was highly informative & written in a witty, down-to-earth manner. I received an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway shortly after paying my taxes & had to laugh at the follies financed by my sweat & blood. I actually prefer having my money go toward such lunacy than to our corrupt mayor who is running the city into debt (while collecting 200K/year for a 2 hour consultation from a bank) or our useless governor with the voice - b What a marvelous dinner guest Mr. Houghton must be! This book was highly informative & written in a witty, down-to-earth manner. I received an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway shortly after paying my taxes & had to laugh at the follies financed by my sweat & blood. I actually prefer having my money go toward such lunacy than to our corrupt mayor who is running the city into debt (while collecting 200K/year for a 2 hour consultation from a bank) or our useless governor with the voice - but not the charisma - of Kermit the Frog.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    I'd already heard about several of the stories in this book via other sources but not all and not in as much detail generally. A fascinating read, though much like a collection of short stories, some are more interesting than others. Written in an engaging and very humorous style, it was well worth reading for anyone with any interest in espionage or military history or just curious as to WTF were they thinking??? Seriously??? The glow in the dark foxes particularly seem to have amused several f I'd already heard about several of the stories in this book via other sources but not all and not in as much detail generally. A fascinating read, though much like a collection of short stories, some are more interesting than others. Written in an engaging and very humorous style, it was well worth reading for anyone with any interest in espionage or military history or just curious as to WTF were they thinking??? Seriously??? The glow in the dark foxes particularly seem to have amused several friends and family members as it continues to be brought up randomly in conversation now.
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  • Mathieu Gaudreault
    January 1, 1970
    A funny and fascinating book to read.From killing or humiliating Castro(losing his beard) to building a nuclear spacecraft(project Orion). The authors uses popular culture to help understand those wack projects. Its not a contrefactuals. There 21 chapters in 4 différents sections(Animal,wack operations, extraordinary technology (including Nazi mirror satellite) and the last section is about nuclear projects.A must have book about secret projects unless you are from Florida(read the book and know A funny and fascinating book to read.From killing or humiliating Castro(losing his beard) to building a nuclear spacecraft(project Orion). The authors uses popular culture to help understand those wack projects. Its not a contrefactuals. There 21 chapters in 4 différents sections(Animal,wack operations, extraordinary technology (including Nazi mirror satellite) and the last section is about nuclear projects.A must have book about secret projects unless you are from Florida(read the book and know why).
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  • Terzah
    January 1, 1970
    Houghton is a historian at the Spy Museum in Washington D.C. This book documents some of the military and espionage schemes that the government considered but (fortunately) abandoned. A lot of it was funny, and the author has a nice light touch, but it was also sobering, especially the stuff involving animals, which was often downright cruel. It makes you wonder....what wild plans are in the works right now? And will we be smart enough to abandon them?
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  • Christopher Shawn
    January 1, 1970
    An incredibly fun look at half-baked, abandoned, top secret, and off-the-wall ideas that have come to pass through the military and intelligence arms of the US and others. From using a cat as a listening device, to literally nuking the moon as a show of force, to using glow in the dark foxes to scare Japanese civilians, these stories are enough to make you question the "intelligence" part of our spy agencies. Quick, breezy reading, perfect for digesting a chapter or two at a time.
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  • Donna Foster
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to believe this is a nonfiction book. The wild ideas are told in a positive and humorous way despite the fact that they are extremely bizarre and outrageous.
  • Mark Blei
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. I didn't so much read it as devour it
  • Marcia
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting.
  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    Utterly enthralling and entertaining and with a sense of humor to boot. Could not put this down!
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