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Columbus Alive | September 22, 2005
Everybody knows how close the world came to all-out nuclear war in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but few know that just six years later the world was again on the brink, when a rogue Soviet sub fired a nuclear missile at Pearl Harbor. Thanks to what amounts to dumb luck, the missile detonated in the silo, sinking the sub and raising one of the scariest and best-kept secrets of the Cold War.

That’s the contention of Red Star Rogue (Simon & Schuster), a new book by Columbus author (and former U.S. Navy nuclear engineer) Kenneth R. Sewell, who offers his theory of the mysterious 1968 sinking of Russian sub K-129.

While it sounds like a Hollywood military drama, complete with dashing Russian commanders, nefarious villains and show-stopping explosions, it’s apparently true. According to Sewell, 11 extra men, likely a sort of KGB terrorist cell loyal to a radical faction of Communist hardliners, were assigned to board the sub, hijack it, and fire on Pearl Harbor, framing China for the attack in the hopes that the U.S.S.R.’s two great enemies would destroy one another in the inevitable nuclear war that would follow.

It makes for pretty intriguing reading, particularly in the latter half of the book where Sewell ties the incident into other strange geopolitical behavior. And the epilogue may leave you gasping about what could come instead of sighing with relief that those days are over. North Korea has some 86 submarines, and as many as eight nuclear weapons. Iran has six subs, and is pursuing a nuclear program.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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