The true story that inspired the feature film Bridge of Spies In this new edition of his classic 1970 memoir about the torious 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.
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.