For sheer drama, this work of history may never be duplicated. The events of the Cuban Missile Crisis unfold in the actual words of President John F. Kennedy and his top advisers. Now available in a new, concise edition, this book retains its gripping sense of history in the making. "[A] splendid achievement, as powerful and exciting a book as one is likely to read this year..."-Barry Gewen, New York Times Book Review "Gripping history."-Richard J. Tofel, Wall Street Journal "[M]esmerizing. I was utterly fascinated...the best, fullest account of crisis yet and will remain so for decades to come."-Stephen E. Ambrose "[A]s close as most people will ever get to being a fly on the wall during the discussions of leaders."-Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, James G. Blight
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(234mm x 157mm x 25mm)
WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
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UK Kirkus Review »
The White House tapes that would eventually lead to Richard Nixon's downfall were not a novelty. John F Kennedy secretly taped White House meetings, and as these tapes provide a startling insight into the higher reaches of American government. This volume covers just two weeks but it is perhaps the most dramatic, and certainly the most dangerous, fortnight in postwar history. On 16 October 1962, photographs from a U2 spy plane revealed that, contrary to Soviet assurances, the missiles that were being placed on Cuba were intermediate-range nuclear weapons. Over the days that followed, President Kennedy and his closest advisers debated how close they might push the world to the brink of nuclear war, while they responded to an ever-changing situation. The masterful opening essay sets the scene, introducing the leading players and explaining the experiences and events that have shaped their attitudes so that the very different personal reactions of the Cabinet are fully explained. The transcripts of these meetings read like the script for a film as possibilities are weighed, arguments rage back and forth, tensions are revealed and the survival of the world seems to rest on one man. The opening essay alone makes this an invaluable book for any student of postwar American political history, but the transcripts, the private glimpse of the workings of American government at crisis point, make this an essential and a thrilling work. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Ernest R. May
Ernest May is Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University. Philip D. Zelikow was executive director of the 9/11 Commission. He is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia.