August 28, 1944, off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea: three torpedoes fired by German submariners aboard U-859 ram an American merchant ship, the USS John Barry. The 7200-ton surface vessel caries Saudi silver riyals worth $80 million, and another $300 million in silver bullion. When the torpedoes strike, they tear the John Barry into two pieces, delivering the ship and her treasure to a watery grave 8500 feet below sea level.
For forty-five years the wreck lay inaccessible on the ocean floor. But in 1989, Skeikh Ahmed Farid al Aulaqi acquired salvage rights and enlisted the help of the French International Maritime Institute and Jean Roux. Roux had led an expedition recovering artifacts from the Titanic; now he and his team would develop the technology and the technique to permit an operation of deep-sea recovery never before deemed possible.
In Stalin's Silver, John Beasant recreates the USS John Barry's fateful voyage and death-defying salvage. With help from the mission's survivors, Deasant resolves a fifty-year-old mystery: Where was the merchant ship taking its precious cargo? Stalin's Silver is an exceptional account of politics and intrigue during the Second World War. It is also the story of the world's most valuable and mysterious sunken treasure, and the men who recovered it.