Nuclear outlet sale Folly: A History of the discount Cuban Missile Crisis sale

Nuclear outlet sale Folly: A History of the discount Cuban Missile Crisis sale

Nuclear outlet sale Folly: A History of the discount Cuban Missile Crisis sale

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A harrowing account of the Cuban missile crisis and how the US and USSR came to the brink of nuclear apocalypse.

Nearly thirty years after the end of the Cold War, today’s world leaders are abandoning disarmament treaties, building up their nuclear arsenals, and exchanging threats of nuclear strikes. To survive this new atomic age, we must relearn the lessons of the most dangerous moment of the Cold War: the Cuban missile crisis.

Serhii Plokhy’s Nuclear Folly offers an international perspective on the crisis, tracing the tortuous decision-making that produced and then resolved it, which involved John Kennedy and his advisers, Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro, and their commanders on the ground. In breathtaking detail, Plokhy vividly recounts the young JFK being played by the canny Khrushchev; the hotheaded Castro willing to defy the USSR and threatening to align himself with China; the Soviet troops on the ground clearing jungle foliage in the tropical heat, and desperately trying to conceal nuclear installations on Cuba, which were nonetheless easily spotted by U-2 spy planes; and the hair-raising near misses at sea that nearly caused a Soviet nuclear-armed submarine to fire its weapons.

More often than not, the Americans and Soviets misread each other, operated under false information, and came perilously close to nuclear catastrophe. Despite these errors, nuclear war was ultimately avoided for one central reason: fear, and the realization that any escalation on either the Soviets’ or the Americans’ part would lead to mutual destruction.

Drawing on a range of Soviet archival sources, including previously classified KGB documents, as well as White House tapes, Plokhy masterfully illustrates the drama and anxiety of those tense days, and provides a way for us to grapple with the problems posed in our present day.

8 pages of photographs; 2 maps

Review

"Superb.... an immense scholarly achievement, engrossing and terrifying, and surely one of the most important books ever written about the Cuban Missile Crisis and 20th century international relations."
James Rosen, Wall Street Journal

"The story is extraordinary, and Plokhy is an accomplished narrator.... This account is probably as authoritative a version of the Soviet side as we are likely to get."
Max Hastings, Sunday Times (UK)

"[Plokhy] provides fresh and horrifying new details.... Finishing this sobering account, I could not help but think of the dangers that exist today from nuclear standoffs involving Pakistan, India, China, North Korea and the United States."
Max Boot, Washington Post

"A magisterial work based on a bevy of U.S. and Soviet archival sources, including previously classified KGB documents. The perspective Plokhy provides exposes the perverse incentives that fueled dangerous nuclear power plays during the Cold War and, he suggests, beyond."
Andre Pagliarini, New Republic

"What makes this the definitive history is Mr Plokhy’s telling of the tale in gripping detail from the Soviet perspective.... It is the picture Mr Plokhy paints of the complete failure of the key decision-makers to get inside the minds of their counterparts that is most telling.... With his masterly book, Mr Plokhy has sounded a warning bell."
The Economist

"Arguably the most authoritative and cleverly written work on the subject yet produced. Packed with fresh information from newly declassified Russian sources, including a KGB archive no researcher has previously accessed.... Gripping."
Victor Sebestyen, Financial Times

"Nearly sixty years after the Cuban missile crisis, Serhii Plokhy, the author of multiple groundbreaking books on Soviet history, once again uses newly released KGB archives to offer a new perspective: In gripping, granular detail, he shows us just how close the United States and the Soviet Union came to Armageddon. At a moment when nuclear technology is still spreading, Nuclear Folly reminds us of the danger we all still face."
Anne Applebaum, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

"If you think the story of the Cuban missile crisis has been told so often that nothing remains to be learned, think again! Drawing on KGB documents preserved in Ukrainian archives and Soviet military memoirs, as well as American documents and Cuban materials, Serhii Plokhy’s almost hour-by-hour account freshly illuminates mistakes by the Kremlin and the White House that triggered the crisis and snafus at sea and in Cuba that almost sparked a nuclear war, while drawing ominous lessons for our own once again hair-trigger nuclear age."
William Taubman, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Gorbachev

"An excellent overview of the Cuban missile crisis from one of America’s leading Cold War historians. Serhii Plokhy has mined previously untapped Soviet archives to shed new light on the thirteen days that brought the world closer than ever before to nuclear destruction, and the pivotal roles of John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev. A thrilling read that justifies his sobering conclusion: we may not be so lucky next time."
Michael Dobbs, author of One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

"A fresh examination of the historical milestone.... Plokhy keeps the pages turning, and he includes far more Soviet material than earlier scholars.... Far from the first account but superbly researched and uncomfortably timely."
Kirkus, starred review

"Paint[s] a clearer picture of the behind-the-scenes machinations, the motivations, the politics, and the errors in judgment that almost brought about a nuclear holocaust. Plokhy pulls it all together with sober yet accessible prose that reads like a suspenseful thriller. For anyone interested in the Cold War, this is an indispensable read."
Booklist, starred review

"This important, absorbing work shows that the full story of the Cuban Missile Crisis must be told from its global perspective."
Library Journal, starred review

About the Author

Serhii Plokhy, Mykhailo S. Hrushevs''kyi Professor of Ukrainian History and director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, is a leading authority on the history of the Cold War. He lives in Burlington, Massachusetts.

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Top reviews from the United States

Michael
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Demonstrates how Khruschev was more driven by morality in the crisis than Kennedy
Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2021
This book made me feel a new respect for Nikita Khruschev, who already deserves great praise for his unwavering repudiation of Stalinism.. Although the conventional summary of the Cuban missile crisis is that "Khruschev blinked" he in fact showed a genuine desire for world... See more
This book made me feel a new respect for Nikita Khruschev, who already deserves great praise for his unwavering repudiation of Stalinism.. Although the conventional summary of the Cuban missile crisis is that "Khruschev blinked" he in fact showed a genuine desire for world peace, or at least avoid world war while Kennedy seemed perfectly willing to accept the deaths of millions of Americans, Russians and others, as long as American prestige - and his own - were not undermined. The book shows that Kennedy was primarily driven by political considerations, Krushchev to avoid war. Further, the book shows that it was Khruschev who was morally in the right in that putting missiles in Cuba was no more than a very reasonable counter move to the U.S. placement of nuclear missiles in Turkey. Further, not only did the U.S. start it, but Khruschev had an additional moral argument for installing nuclear missiles in Cuba - to protect the island from a SECOND U.S. backed invasion. By contrast, the Soviet Union never attacked or even seriously threatened Turkey. In short, this book demonstrates yet again that although some Soviet leaders - primarily Lenin and Stalin - were indeed souless mass murders, others, such as Beria, Gorbachev and Khruschev were surprisingly idealistic people willing to risk their careers and, in Beria''s case, his life, to do the right thing.
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Russell Jean Gray, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Extremely well document account.
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2021
As a Special Agent if the FBI in 1962 I was working with ABC News correspondent (later US Ambassador to UN) John Scali as he was in contact with Aleksandr Feklisov (aka Fomin) the KGB Rezident (station chief) in Washington, DC, over many weeks culminating in their luncheon... See more
As a Special Agent if the FBI in 1962 I was working with ABC News correspondent (later US Ambassador to UN) John Scali as he was in contact with Aleksandr Feklisov (aka Fomin) the KGB Rezident (station chief) in Washington, DC, over many weeks culminating in their luncheon in the Occidental Restaurant in Washington on September 27, 1962. Scali telephoned me right after they finished lunch to give me Khrushchev''s terms for ending the Cuban missile crisis. I franticly conveyed them to FBI HQ so Director J. Edgar Hoover could provide them to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to deliver to his brother, the President. This fine book enabled me to understand why Feklisov was the channel used rather than Soviet Ambassador to the US Anatoly Dobrynin. Khrushchev had not informed Foreign Secretary Andrei Gromyko of the missile deployment in Cuba so Dobrynin, a skilled diplomat, was ignorant of the facts and had no authority to take action. . The KGB Rezident in Havana had been made Ambassador to Cuba. KGB was present at all levels, even aboard the ships carrying missiles, As Feklisov said later, the KGB way - not the Soviet foreign service - had been selected as the working channel. One surprise is the absence of mention of GRU Col. Oleg Penkovsky "the spy who saved the world" who was furnishing information in Moscow on the missiles deployed and more to MI-6 and CIA which gave confidence to President Kennedy that the US would prevail. A fine read. .
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Hal Jordan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating--and hair-raising--acount of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2021
I''ve read several books on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Serhii Plokhy''s is clearly the best. He gives a day-by-day account of the crisis based largely on primary sources. He brings home how close the world came to experiencing a nuclear war; much closer than most earlier... See more
I''ve read several books on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Serhii Plokhy''s is clearly the best. He gives a day-by-day account of the crisis based largely on primary sources. He brings home how close the world came to experiencing a nuclear war; much closer than most earlier accounts made it seem.

Plokhy has made excellent use of primary sources that relate the internal Kremlin debates. If the Communist Party had provided the Soviet Union with a true collective leadership--rather than, in effect, Khrushchev''s one-man rule--the whole episde might have been avoided because Plokhy makes it clear that from the beginning some of the leadership had their doubts about Khrushchev''s strategy.

Interestingly, Plokhy''s access to the primary Soviet sources apparently came from archives in Ukraine rather than in Russia, or so I understand from reading his acknowledgments. He gives no explanation of how these documents happen to be in Ukraine.

My only criticism is that, like so many authors these days, Plokhy would have benefited from better editing. There are several instances where, for no apparent reason, he jumps ahead in the narrative and then circles back to get back to pick up the chronology. My guess is he had something in mind that motivated him to do this but I only found it confusing. Here and there there are also some factual slips, such as giving the wrong year for a U.S. Congressional election.

The book is mercifully brief at only 361 pages of text; shorter than most history books these days. His endnotes are also confined almost exclusively to giving references to his sources. Too many books have endnotes that contain substantive material that should either have been included in the text or cut entirely.

Overall the book is a compelling read and indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand this key episode in the history of the Cold War.
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Ralph Eastwick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
How Close We Came to Oblivion
Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2021
Prof Serhii Plokhy''s new history of the Cuban Missile Crisis will likely stand for some time as the most authoritative history of that fraught autumn of 1962. The book is deeply researched, and very well-written, not at all couched in academic jargon. It should enjoy a... See more
Prof Serhii Plokhy''s new history of the Cuban Missile Crisis will likely stand for some time as the most authoritative history of that fraught autumn of 1962. The book is deeply researched, and very well-written, not at all couched in academic jargon. It should enjoy a very wide audience. Prof Plokhy pulls no punches in his criticism of the leading participants in the crisis, Kennedy, Khruschchev, and even Fidel Castro. Khruschchev especially comes off poorly, as the reader can see the beginnings of his colleagues dismay of what was later termed his "harebrained schemes". Prof Plokhy has obviously mined numerous archives here and abroad to great effect. One somewhat shocking revelation was the KGB being ordered to do all they could to help JFK win the 1960 presidential election, what Plokhy terms "setting up a number of meetings that in today''s parlance would qualify as nothing less than "collusion" between Kennedy''s presidential campaign and the Kremlin". Some of the actors do come off well, such as new CIA director John McCone. Others do not. All in all, an interesting, historically important book for all history buffs.
4 people found this helpful
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Metcalfc82
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Nuclear Brinkmanship
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2021
Compelling look at Cuban Missile Crisis to include exploration of Soviet decision making. The author provides context and detail that will both educate and engage the reader. Second only to Graham Allison’s book: Essence of a Decision. This book highlights the... See more
Compelling look at Cuban Missile Crisis to include exploration of Soviet decision making. The author provides context and detail that will both educate and engage the reader. Second only to Graham Allison’s book: Essence of a Decision.

This book highlights the role of trust and relationships in crisis, the importance of understanding events from your opponents perspective, and the dangers of events getting beyond a leaders control when directing large organizations operating in complex and often uncertain environments.

Author concludes with a warning that this crisis ended the way it did in part because both sides feared nuclear war and warns that the world is at risk of a crisis where leaders lack that fear raising the potential for catastrophe.
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David Shulman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Khrushchev''s Nuclear Gamble
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2021
Many books have been written about the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis, but I believe that Harvard historian and Russia expert Sergii Plokhy’s will become the standard text. He views the crisis from the Russian side and introduces declassified Soviet and Ukrainian KGB... See more
Many books have been written about the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis, but I believe that Harvard historian and Russia expert Sergii Plokhy’s will become the standard text. He views the crisis from the Russian side and introduces declassified Soviet and Ukrainian KGB files along with interviews of several of the participants. From early on Khrushchev sees Kennedy as far easier to deal with than Nixon. In fact, Plokhy highlights conversations between a KGB officer and Robert Kennedy prior to the 1960 election. Today we would call that collusion. Khrushchev does his best to get Kennedy elected by highlighting Soviet missile strength which played into Kennedy’s campaign highlighting the missile gap, which was nonexistent.

With Cold War tensions seething over Berlin, Kennedy meets Khrushhev in Vienna in June 1961. Khrushchev browbeats Kennedy and comes to believe that he can get away with anything. The seeds of the missile crisis were planted in Vienna. The official Soviet rationale for the missiles were to offset the presence of U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey. But there was more to it. The Soviets wanted to prevent another invasion of Cuba, checkmate the U.S. in Berlin by opening up another front, and feared that the development of the solid fueled Minuteman missile would give the U.S. a first strike capability when, in fact, Russia had few ICBMs.

Khrushchev bullies his presidium to activate his plans to place missiles with their nuclear warheads in Cuba. He argued that their presence could be kept secret, but his military and the Old Bolshevik Anastas Mikoyan correctly argued otherwise. Mikoyan is the hero of the piece on the Soviet side because he later convinces Castro to support the withdrawal and inspection of the missiles.

Plokhy goes into great detail as to how the unauthorized shooting down of an American U-2 by a local commander, an accidental overflight into Russia by a B-52 and the near use of a nuclear tipped torpedo in in a Russian sub could have led to a global conflagration. Sometimes the command and control in Washington D.C. and Moscow don’t work exactly as planned.

On the American side we see Kennedy moving from hawk to dove and we his constant looking over his shoulder on the domestic consequences of his actions. He is especially fearful of New York Senator Kenneth Keating pressing him on the missile issue prior to the enactment of the embargo.

In the end it was both Kennedy’s and Khrushchev’s fear of nuclear war that enabled the crisis to cool. Out of that came Khrushchev’s newfound respect for Kennedy and the treaty banning the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in 1963. I know haven’t done justice to Plokhy’s very fine book. At time when we worry about nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea his book is a worthwhile reminder of how things can go wrong.
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Tim Zagurskie
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting With Some Oddities
Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2021
This was an interesting little book on the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was very top heavy overall, looking at the crisis from the perspective of JFK and Khrushchev and the discussions with their advisors. The author quickly made two points clear: that Nikita''s main incentive... See more
This was an interesting little book on the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was very top heavy overall, looking at the crisis from the perspective of JFK and Khrushchev and the discussions with their advisors. The author quickly made two points clear: that Nikita''s main incentive in placing the missiles in Cuba was to protect that country from the USA and the USA would not allow any missiles that close to America even when it was pointed out that the NATO missiles in Turkey were analogous. There was also special attention paid to the belligerent attitudes of JFK and RFK early on in the crisis.

Among all the high level discussions the author also took time to discuss three events in detail: the encounter of Soviet subs with the USN, the US plan that drifted into Soviet airspace in the polar region, and the shooting down of Rudolf Anderson''s U-2 over Cuba. While these episodes were well presented, they were also presented in stand alone fashion, often after the chapter on the high level maneuverings which left the reader having to remind (or look back) for the overall context to the micro event described. This felt a bit disjointed.

One area the book did stand out was the discussion of the events after the deal struck on October 28th. Great detail was given to Castro''s disappointment and how he tried to gum up the works. Roughly 60 pages were devoted to the events from October 29th until November 20 and if one has not read much about that phase of the crisis there will be much to learn here.

A few other items stood out in the book. I have read a number of books on the Cuban Missile Crisis so I was surprised to see the down playing of West Berlin. The Cold War hot spot was only mentioned in the early going of the book and then never really returned too once it was established how sensitive JFK was on this issue. I found that interesting as most other books talk about West Berlin at length and one, the book Khrushchev''s Cold War by Naftali and Fursenko, makes the bold assertion that the whole point of Nikita putting the missiles secretly into Cuban was not to then reveal them and say let''s trade Berlin for Cuban Missiles, but rather when the weapons were revealed to then use their leverage for Khrushchev to get his own way on Berlin!! Yet this book does not address such an explosive assertion which struck me as odd. Another interesting point was how the Russians camouflaged their missiles after they were first discovered in such a way that the US could not get more detail on them. Which begs the question if the Soviets had the means of doing so, why didn''t they just do so in the first place? Also odd was the lack of discussion of the Kennedy brothers floating the Turkish missiles for Cuban missiles idea via the US press. This book made it seem as if the idea originated solely with columnist Walter Lippman which, to my understanding, is not so.

In the end, I found some interesting things to ponder but I also was left a little puzzled in how the book portrayed certain aspects of the crisis. The final section of the book was well worth the effort and I would say that this book is worth getting and reading if you already have some background on this seminal Cold War event and pick up said book at a reasonable price.
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SArmst2547
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent history
Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2021
My wife and I read this book together, and we both thought this book excellent. Polkhy''s history is both narrative (who said what, when, to whom, and what sources) and analytical (meaning of the events). Many excellent aspects deserve mention, but we were quite impressed... See more
My wife and I read this book together, and we both thought this book excellent. Polkhy''s history is both narrative (who said what, when, to whom, and what sources) and analytical (meaning of the events). Many excellent aspects deserve mention, but we were quite impressed with several: (1) the casualness by which the USA and USSR fell into the nuclear trap; (2) the fecklessness of Kennedy''s advisors (who all "feared" nuclear war but who were willing to contemplate it and implement its preliminary stages (e.g., DEFCON 2)); (3) how close we came to sinking a Soviet submarine bound for Cuba, which would have used a 10 kt. nuclear torpedo as a poison weapon, thereby provoking further escalation (obviously: the US Navy would not like losing surface ships to a nuclear weapon)...and so on.

Great read.

We are now going to read Dobbs'' earlier book on these same events, to see how the interpretations over 20 years may have changed.
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Top reviews from other countries

CBS
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Falls Short on the Technical and Forensic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2021
Elsewhere in my series of Amazon book reviews, I have given an opinion of Serhii Plokhy''s book on Chernobyl - ''History of a Tragedy''. In doing so, I compared it with Higginbotham''s ''Midnight in Chernobyl''. In my view, both are good, but Higginbotham is better. Better in...See more
Elsewhere in my series of Amazon book reviews, I have given an opinion of Serhii Plokhy''s book on Chernobyl - ''History of a Tragedy''. In doing so, I compared it with Higginbotham''s ''Midnight in Chernobyl''. In my view, both are good, but Higginbotham is better. Better in technical and forensic detail; better and more compelling narrative; politically neutral. And it''s a bit the same with Plokhy''s ''Nuclear Folly''. My comparator here is Dobbs'' ''One Minute to Midnight'', which I read on its publication in 2008. Dobbs has accurate and extensive detail on all aspects of the Cuban crisis, while Plokhy is comparatively patchy. Compare, for example, the coverage in the two books of Maultby''s U2 flight over the North Pole on Black Saturday, October 27, 1962. On the return leg, Maultby lost his way and strayed over the (Soviet) Chukotka peninsula in far-eastern Siberia. Soviet interceptors were scrambled in pursuit. The resulting near-miss was one catalyst for nuclear war avoided on that terrible day. But Dobbs'' treatment of the event-sequence is far superior. More generally, I found Dobbs gripping to read -- I know, he''s a novelist, which is not always the best recommendation for a writer of history -- Plokhy less so. Nuclear Folly does add much new material from the Soviet perspective, which is good. But then, it seems to me to suffer from a certain impenetrability that I perceive in books translated from the Russian or Ukrainian languages or, in the case of Plokhy''s book, one that is written in English by someone whose mother tongue is Ukrainian. Can''t quite put my finger on it, but it''s something about the language gap that inhibits flow and readability in the English rendition. It''s the reason why I have difficulty reading Doctor Zhivago, Solzhenitsyn or Vasily Grossman. Plokhy is just harder going than Dobbs: slightly impenetrable American-twanged English with a Ukrainian undertone. Then there''s the politics: as noted, the Soviet slant of Nuclear Folly is good. But the (presumably) Ukrainian spelling (Yurii Gagarin, and many other examples) I find a bit discordant when the Russian versions are so much more familiar. Plokhy is critical of things Soviet and Russian, and it shows. For sixty years, the Executive Committee of the National Security Council has been ExComm (or -- Robert Kennedy -- Ex Comm). Why, In Nuclear Folly, ExCom? Finally, touted as a major new revelation of yet another peril on Black Saturday, I found Plokhy''s Soviet-submarine-about-to-fire-nuclear-torpedo scenario not altogether convincing. A good book, which I finished. But, like Plokhy''s Chernobyl work, I won''t be re-reading it. Three and a half stars.
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Mr. Adrian Mcmenamin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sorry to say it - but I was left disappointed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 28, 2021
The first thing to say about this book is that it is missing a chapter. Not as a matter of opinion - but as a matter of fact: there are extensive notes to a preface which simply is not there (and I don''t mean I''ve got a badly printed copy, the pagination shows it just...See more
The first thing to say about this book is that it is missing a chapter. Not as a matter of opinion - but as a matter of fact: there are extensive notes to a preface which simply is not there (and I don''t mean I''ve got a badly printed copy, the pagination shows it just hasn''t been included). From the material referenced it would seem that the author drew explicit parallels between the miscalculations of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Donald Trump''s handling of North Korea, but quite what he says I don''t know. It''s not the only problem with editing - and it''s not the first history book published during the covid-19 pandemic where I''ve seen this - throughout there are signs of a certain lack of attention to detail, repeated information and in one case an out of the blue reference to British weaponry as a bargaining chip with no prior or subsequent explanation. In the end none of the above matters too much - or wouldn''t if I wasn''t still left disappointed by other aspects of the book. Too much of it reads like a he said, then he said and then he said, recount of the meetings of the US ExCom and we spend much of the book being led to understand the world is on the brink of nuclear war but with no sense at all that any of the participants understood that (when they plainly did - but no feeling of urgency, fear or paranoia is ever communicated to us the readers). The pace picks up a little bit in the second half - especially at the moments the world really does totter on the brink, but its often hard to wonder what the fuss was all about, so drily and pacelessly is it discussed. It''s not that the book is poor - Plokhy is better than that - but it just lacks so much: it really does concentrate on the discussions between and in the US, Soviet and Cuban leaderships. We do get a readout on Soviet views and opinions that is often missing and there are some other insights from the Soviet (especially Ukrainian) perspective, but overall I had expected a bit more than this.
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PeterDz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent account of one of the most globally dangerous periods in recent history
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 24, 2021
Arguably the best account of the Cuban Missile Crisis to date. The access to the Soviet archives and Plokhii''s deep knowledge of the history give it a breadth and depth which few have approached. The balance between the Soviet accounts and those of the Kennedys and other...See more
Arguably the best account of the Cuban Missile Crisis to date. The access to the Soviet archives and Plokhii''s deep knowledge of the history give it a breadth and depth which few have approached. The balance between the Soviet accounts and those of the Kennedys and other sides alone makes it worth reading. The fact that there were four times as many Soviet troops on the island as the US thought and that the MRBMs were armed with nuclear warheads and "battle ready" and that Soviet tactical nuclear weapons were authorised to be used if Cuba was being invaded only serves to underline just how close we came to a nuclear holocaust in 1962. The part that Castro played in taking us to the brink, why Khrushchev wanted MRBMs on Cuba and the mis-information and misunderstandings between the two sides are a revelation in themselves. But for their resolution you wouldn''t be reading this review. Very well written. Compelling. Highly recommended .
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Stephen Black
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Informative !
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 5, 2021
Not a period I am particularly interested in but I enjoyed this analysis. The narrative was chronological which helped to feel the context within which decisions were taken . As with all history there were definitely two perspectives to the crisis & it would simplistic to...See more
Not a period I am particularly interested in but I enjoyed this analysis. The narrative was chronological which helped to feel the context within which decisions were taken . As with all history there were definitely two perspectives to the crisis & it would simplistic to hold the Russians totally to blame . The abiding lesson I take from this book is that despite his many deep flaws the world should be extremely grateful that JFK was President who held idiots such as LeMay in check & so prevented a catastrophic nuclear exchange.
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David J. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
How close the world came to disaster
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 12, 2021
Scary reading, having lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, I did not realise how very close we came to nuclear disaster. The writing is at times a bit ponderous, but none the less contains facts that the general public were not aware of - both at the time - and up to the...See more
Scary reading, having lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, I did not realise how very close we came to nuclear disaster. The writing is at times a bit ponderous, but none the less contains facts that the general public were not aware of - both at the time - and up to the present time. Recommended reading.
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