Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America

Annie Jacobsen. Little, Brown, $30 (576p) ISBN 978-0-316-22104-7
As comprehensive as it is critical, this latest exposé from Jacobsen (Area 51) is perhaps her most important work to date. Though Americans are quick to remember the United States’ heroic feats in WWII, they tend to be more amnesic (or allergic) toward some of our nation’s shadier activities in the effort—one of which seems to have been forgotten altogether. For just as some Nazis awaited trial at Nuremburg, others—namely prominent, potentially useful scientists—were secretly smuggled into the country by the U.S. government to help prepare for an ostensibly impending “total war” with the Soviets. In fact, even an appearance at Nuremburg didn’t rule out a trip to the States. Needless to say, what to do with potentially useful war criminals posed an unusual predicament. If such a claim sounds dubious, Jacobsen persuasively shows that it in fact happened and aptly frames the dilemma in terms of “Who would be hired, and who would be hanged?” Rife with hypocrisy, lies, and deceit, Jacobsen’s story explores a conveniently overlooked bit of history the significance of which continues to resonate in the national security issues of today. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 02/11/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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