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John F. Kennedy & The Cuban Missile Crisis

For nearly a year after the CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs in April 1961, memos flew back and forth challenging the objectivity and appropriateness of criticism of the agency's performance in the official report of its own inspector general, Lyman Kirkpatrick.   For nearly 40 years thereafter, the CIA fought to keep the report and responses by operatives involved in the fiasco secret.   The Freedom of Information Act, a CIA "openness" campaign, and a 1995 executive order finally made the documents available.   It is clear why the report generated controversy: at a time when the agency was trying to shift responsibility to others in government, especially President Kennedy and the Defense and State departments, Kirkpatrick outlined CIA errors, from bad planning, poor staffing, and faulty intelligence to "failure to advise the President that success had become dubious."    Most general readers won't care to wallow through either report or responses, yet libraries with special collection and study interests may want these essential historical documents. copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved

The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 was a volcanic event in American foreign relations and arguably the most perilous moment in world history.   For thirteen days, as the United States and the Soviet Union teetered on the brink of nuclear war, a young and charismatic American president faced off with an aggressive Soviet premier over the secret installation of Soviet missiles on the island of Cuba, just ninety miles from the Florida coast and under the Communist government of the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.    For many years historians of the crisis have concentrated on the events of those thirteen days in October.   Mark White's new study adds an equally intense scrutiny of the causes and consequences of the affair.   Missiles in Cuba is based on a wide range of up-to-date scholarship plus Mr. White's own findings in National Security Archive materials, Kennedy Library tapes of ExComm meetings during the crisis, and correspondence involving Soviet officials in Washington and Havana - all newly released.   This more rounded picture gives us a much clearer understanding of the policy strategies pursued by the United States and the Soviet Union (and, to a lesser extent, Cuba) that brought on the crisis.   Mr. White's almost hour-by-hour account of the confrontation itself also destroys some venerable myths, such as the unique initiatives attributed to Robert Kennedy.   And the author's assessment of the consequences of the crisis points to salutary effects on Soviet-American relations and on U.S. nuclear defense strategy, but questionable influences on Soviet defense spending and on Washington's perception of its talents for "crisis management" - which were later to be tested in Vietnam.

The first paperback edition of the popular primary source reader, including many newly released documents.   "In this age of high technology weapons, crisis-management is dangerous, difficult, and uncertain....   The record of the missile crisis is replete with examples of misinformation, misjudgment, miscalculation.   Such errors are costly in conventional warfare. When they affect decisions relating to nuclear forces, they can result in the destruction of nations." (from the foreword by Robert S. McNamara)   Thirty-six years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, these declassified documents stand as testament to just how dangerously close the world came to nuclear destruction in 1962, and challenge the official history of the event as a model of crisis management.   This collection of formerly secret records, available now in paperback for the first time, includes correspondence between John F. Kennedy, Nikita Krushchev, and Fidel Castro; intelligence reports; minutes; cables; and new documents released since the publication of the hardcover.   The editors have provided a document-by-document account of the most important superpower confrontation of the twentieth century.

Reading these transcripts place you in a chair at the table in the Cabinet Room in 1962.   What is history now is a current event then. Pearl Harbor and Berlin.    The Cold War at it's peak.   The world's worst potentially deadly crisis is being debated right before your eyes.   Many options are available, and each could lead to global nuclear war.   Immediate strike with no warning.   Strike with warning.   Blockade and no strike.   All options are considered an act of war.   This book allows you to see a president in office who listens to and learns from advisors, sifts through evidence, and makes decisions as best any man can.   Definitely a book that future presidents can and should learn from.   It taught me that my vote for president is the most important thing that I do in my life. Incredible.   I hope there's an Inside the Kremlin Companion

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