Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident (Paperback)
The true story that inspired the feature film Bridge of Spies
In this new edition of his classic 1970 memoir about the notorious U-2 incident, pilot Francis Gary Powers reveals the full story of what actually happened in the most sensational espionage case in Cold War history. After surviving the shoot-down of his reconnaissance plane and his capture on May 1, 1960, Powers endured sixty-one days of rigorous interrogation by the KGB, a public trial, a conviction for espionage, and the start of a ten-year sentence. After nearly two years, the U.S. government obtained his release from prison in a dramatic exchange for convicted Soviet spy Rudolph Abel. The narrative is a tremendously exciting suspense story about a man who was labeled a traitor by many of his countrymen but who emerged a Cold War hero.
Purchase the audio edition.
About the Author
Francis Gary Powers served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and completed twenty-seven U-2 photographic reconnaissance missions for the CIA, including several overflights of the Soviet Union, until shot down by a Soviet surface-to-air missile on May 1, 1960. Upon his return to the United States in 1962, he flew the U-2 as an engineering test pilot for Lockheed Aircraft. Powers died in a helicopter crash in 1977.
Curt Gentry has written or contributed to many books, including Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders and J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets. He lives in San Francisco.
“A glimpse into a shadowy world where half-truths, lies, blunders, and cover-ups are accepted realities . . . . Possibly the most unsettling moment in the book is the discussion of the CIA’s relative independence, even of the President.”—New York Times Book Review
“The decision to send a U-2 over Russia just before a summit convergence was, the author believes, a bungle by American intelligence for which he was made, to a limited extent, the scapegoat . . . . Powers’s book is interesting all by itself, and it joins the roster of works that have been raising an exasperating problem: How can an open society cope with secret agencies, its own or anybody else’s?”—The New Yorker
“Powers seems the epitome of the spy in his very interesting chronicle. The story he writes is immensely personal, filled at various times with pride, fears, and misgivings.”—Library Journal