Cover image for K-19 : the widowmaker : the secret story of the Soviet nuclear submarine
K-19 : the widowmaker : the secret story of the Soviet nuclear submarine
Huchthausen, Peter A., 1939-
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : National Geographic Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
243 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
V857.5 .H83 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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An account of one of the Cold War era's most harrowing nuclear accidents documents the maiden voyage of the Soviet nuclear submarine, during which a serious reactor leak spurred a perilous race against time.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This book recaps the near-meltdown of a nuclear reactor in 1961 aboard the first Soviet ballistic missile boat, the K-19. The captain, Nikolai Zateyev, wrote a memoir of his career, which is extensively excerpted here and gives a glimpse into the Soviet nuclear navy and the shoddily constructed ships that Zateyev was given to command; a defective seal nearly sank the K-19 on a shakedown cruise. Worse was to come, with sufficient radioactive drama to inspire a forthcoming film (with the same title) starring Zateyev look-alike Harrison Ford. After the accident was contained by the certain-death heroics of men who repaired the reactor, Zateyev found the culprit in the near cataclysm: incompetent welding. Not that the knowledge improved safety: author Huchthausen, a retired U.S. Navy expert on submarines, embeds Zateyev's tale of woe within the context of a series of submarine accidents culminating in the Kursk sinking of 2000. A likely lure for maritime mavens. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

Soviet Technologies A companion to the feature film of the same name, K-19: The Widowmaker tells the hair-raising story of the Soviet submarine that nearly caused a nuclear meltdown in 1961. The sub developed a leak as it was heading toward the North Atlantic, and only the ingenious efforts of the crew eight of whom died within days from radiation poisoning staved off a global disaster. Author Peter Huchthausen, a retired U.S. Navy captain and former naval attach in Moscow (as well as a technical adviser on the film), recounts the fateful events and also describes the making of the film. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved