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The Soviet nuclear submarine K-19 was the pride of the Soviet Navy, but on July 4, 1961, during its maiden voyage to the North Atlantic for war games, it suddenly and unexpectedly developed a serious leak in one of the reactors. In a race against time, the officers and crew worked desperately and brilliantly, under intense exposure to radiation, to improvise a coolant system, averting a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster. The toll for their efforts was certain and devastating: Eight men died painful deaths from acute radiation poisoning within days of the accident, and the surviving crew returned home to await their unknowable fate.
Featuring a complete history of the actual events, with passages from the submarine captain's memoir, and rarely published historic images, K-19 places readers at the apex of the Cold War's brinkmanship between the USSR and the United States. It is the companion book to the upcoming National Geographic feature film about this gripping tragedy, K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. Including information on the making of the film, with production stills, and cutaway drawings of the submarine, this powerful volume combines authoritative history and the magic of moviemaking to give the reader the real backstory to K-19.