One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

by Michael Dobbs

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Overview

In October 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear conflict over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba. In this hour-by-hour chronicle of those tense days, veteran Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs reveals just how close we came to Armageddon.

Here, for the first time, are gripping accounts of Khrushchev's plan to destroy the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo; the handling of Soviet nuclear warheads on Cuba; and the extraordinary story of a U-2 spy plane that got lost over Russia at the peak of the crisis.

Written like a thriller, One Minute to Midnight is an exhaustively researched account of what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called "the most dangerous moment in human history"-and the definitive book on the Cuban missile crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400043583
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/03/2008
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 9.52(w) x 6.44(h) x 1.61(d)

About the Author

Michael Dobbs was born and educated in Britain, but is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent. He has taught at leading American universities, including Princeton, the University of Michigan, and Georgetown. He is currently on the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His previous books include the bestselling One Minute to Midnight on the Cuban missile crisis, which was part of an acclaimed Cold War trilogy. He lives outside Washington, D.C.

Read an Excerpt

Americans Tuesday, October 16, 1962, 11:50 a.m. The Central Intelligence Agency’s chief photo interpreter hovered over the president’s shoulder. Arthur Lundahl held a pointer in his hand, ready to reveal a secret that would bring the world to the edge of nuclear war. The secret was buried in three black-and-white photographs pasted to briefing boards hidden in a large black case. The photographs had been shot from directly overhead, evidently from a considerable distance, with the aid of a very powerful zoom lens. On superficial inspection, the grainy images of fields, forests, and winding country roads seemed innocuous, almost bucolic. One of the fields contained tubelike objects, others oval-shaped white dots neatly lined up next to one another. John F. Kennedy would later remark that the site could be mistaken for “a football field.” After examining the photographs earlier that morning, his brother Bobby had been unable to make out anything more than “the clearing of a field for a farm or the basement of a house.” To help the president understand the significance of the photos, Lundahl had labeled them with arrows pointing to the dots and blotches, along with captions reading “ERECTOR LAUNCHER EQUIPMENT,” “MISSILE TRAILERS,” and “TENT AREAS.” He was about to display the briefing boards when there was a commotion outside the door. A four-year-old girl burst into one of the most heavily guarded rooms in the White House. The heads of the fourteen most powerful men in the United States swiveled to the doorway as Caroline Kennedy ran toward her father, babbling excitedly: “Daddy, daddy, they won’t let my friend in.” The somber-looking men in dark suits were used to such intrusions. Their frowns dissolved into smiles as the president got up from his leather-upholstered seat and led his daughter back toward the door of the Cabinet Room. “Caroline, have you been eating candy?” No reply. The president smiled. “Answer me. Yes, no, or maybe.” Father and daughter disappeared for a few seconds, his arm draped around her shoulders. When Kennedy returned, his expression had again become grave. He took his place at the center of the long table beneath the presidential seal, his back to the Rose Garden. He was flanked on either side by his secretary of state and secretary of defense. Facing him across the table were his brother, his vice president, and his national security adviser. Behind them stood a small bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln, flanked by some model sailing ships. Above the fireplace to the right was the celebrated Gilbert Stuart portrait of a powdered and bewigged George Washington. The thirty-fifth president of the United States called the meeting to order. Kennedy seemed preternaturally calm to the other men in the room as he listened to the evidence of Kremlin duplicity. In secrecy, while insisting they would never contemplate such a thing, the Soviet leaders had installed surface-to-surface nuclear missiles on Cuba, less than a hundred miles from American shores. According to the CIA, the missiles had a range of 1,174 miles and were capable of hitting much of the eastern seaboard. Once armed and ready to fire, they could explode over Washington in thirteen minutes, turning the capital into a scorched wasteland. Lundahl took the briefing boards out of his bag and laid them on the table. He used his pointer to direct the president’s attention to a canvas-covered missile trailer next to a launcher erector. Seven more missile trailers were parked in a nearby field. “How do you know this is a medium-range ballistic missile?” asked the president. His voice was clipped and tense, betraying a boiling anger beneath the calm. “The length, sir.” “The what? The length?” “The length of it, yes.” CIA experts had spent the last thirty-six hours poring over thousands of reconnaissance photographs of the hills and valleys of western Cuba. They had discovered telltale cables connecting one of the tubelike objects to the nearby oval-shaped splotch, and had used a revolutionary new computer device that filled up half a room—the Mann Model 621 comparator—to measure its length. The tubes turned out to be sixty-seven feet long. Missiles of identical length had been photographed at military parades in Red Square in Moscow. The president asked the obvious question: when would the missiles be ready to fire? The experts were unsure. That would depend on how soon the missiles could be mated with their nuclear warheads. Once mated, they could be fired in a couple of hours. So far, there was no evidence to suggest that the Soviets had moved the warheads to the missile sites. If the warheads were present, one would expect to see some kind of secure storage facility at the missile sites, but nothing was visible.“There is some reason to believe the warheads aren’t present and hence they are not ready to fire,” said Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara. The computerlike brain of the former head of the Ford Motor Company clicked away furiously, calculating the chances of a surprise attack. He believed the president still had some time. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff disagreed. General Maxwell Taylor had parachuted into Normandy during World War II, and had commanded Allied forces in Berlin and Korea. It fell to him to point out the risks of delay. The Soviets could be in a position to fire their missiles “very quickly.” Most of the infrastructure was already in place. “It’s not a question of waiting for extensive concrete pads and that sort of thing.” The president’s advisers were already dividing into doves and hawks. Kennedy had received an initial intelligence briefing earlier that morning. His national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, had knocked on the door of his bedroom, on the second floor of the White House, shortly after 8:00 a.m. The president was propped up in bed, in pajamas and dressing gown, reading the morning newspapers. As often happened, he was annoyed by a page-one headline in The New York Times. On this particular morning, his exasperation was directed at his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had broken the unwritten convention of former presidents refraining from publicly criticizing the current occupant of the Oval Office. EISENHOWER CALLS PRESIDENT WEAK ON FOREIGN POLICY — Denounces “Dreary Record,” Challenging  Statements by Kennedy on Achievements — HE SEES SETBACK TO U.S. As Bundy described the latest U-2 mission over Cuba, Kennedy’s irritation with Ike was replaced by a burning anger toward his Cold War nemesis. Over the past two years, he and Nikita Khrushchev had been engaged in a very public game of nuclear oneupmanship. But Kennedy thought he had an understanding with the mercurial Soviet premier. Khrushchev had sent word through intermediaries that he would do nothing to embarrass the U.S. president politically before the midterm congressional elections, which were exactly three weeks away. News that the Soviets were constructing missile bases on Cuba could hardly have come at a worse time. During the 1960 presidential election, Kennedy had used Cuba as a stick to beat the Republicans, accusing the Eisenhower government of doing nothing to prevent Fidel Castro from transforming the island into “a hostile and militant Communist satellite.” Now that the Democrats were in power, the political roles were reversed. Republican politicians were seizing on reports of a Soviet military buildup on Cuba to denounce Kennedy for weakness and fecklessness. Just two days earlier, Kennedy had sent Bundy out on nationwide television to knock down a claim by the Republican senator from New York, Kenneth B. Keating, that the Soviets would soon be able “to hurl rockets into the American heartland” from their Caribbean outpost.Kennedy’s immediate reaction on learning from Bundy that Khrushchev had double-crossed him was to sputter, “He can’t do this to me.” An hour later, he walked into the office of his appointments secretary, Kenny O’Donnell, and announced glumly, “Ken Keating will probably be the next president of the United States.” Determined to keep the information secret as long as possible, Kennedy decided to stick to his regular schedule, acting as if nothing was amiss. He showed off Caroline’s pony Macaroni to the family of a returning astronaut, chatted amiably for half an hour with a Democratic congressman, and presided over a conference on mental retardation. It was not until nearly noon that he managed to break away from his ceremonial duties and meet with his top foreign policy advisers. Kennedy conceded that he was mystified by Khrushchev. Alternately ingratiating and boorish, friendly and intimidating, the metalworker turned superpower leader was unlike any other politician he had ever encountered. Their single summit meeting—in Vienna, in June 1961—had been a brutal experience for Kennedy. Khrushchev had treated him like a little boy, lecturing him on American misdeeds, threatening to take over West Berlin, and boasting about the inevitable triumph of communism. Most shocking of all, Khrushchev did not seem to share his alarm about the risks of nuclear war, and how it could be triggered by miscalculations on either side. He spoke about nuclear weapons in a casual, offhand kind of way, as simply one more element in the superpower competition. If the United States wants war, he blustered, “let it begin now.” “Roughest thing in my life,” Kennedy had told James Reston of The New York Times, after it was all over. “He just beat the hell out of me.”  Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was contemptuous of his boss’s performance. “Khrushchev scared the poor little fellow dead,” he told his cronies. British prime minister Harold Macmillan, who met with Kennedy shortly after he left Vienna, was only slightly more sympathetic. He thought that the president had been “completely overwhelmed by the ruthlessness and barbarity of the Russian Chairman.” For the first time in his life Kennedy had met a man “who was impervious to his charm,” Macmillan noted later. “It reminded me in a way of Lord Halifax or Neville Chamberlain trying to hold a conversation with Herr Hitler.” Part of the problem lay in Kennedy’s own miscalculations as president. The biggest mistake of all was the Bay of Pigs. In April 1961, four months after taking office, he had authorized an invasion of Cuba by fifteen hundred CIA-trained Cuban exiles. But the operation was disastrously planned and executed. Castro mounted a vigorous counterattack, trapping the exiles in an isolated beachhead. Anxious to conceal official American involvement as much as possible, Kennedy refused to order U.S. ships and planes stationed just offshore to come to the rescue of the outnumbered invaders, most of whom ended up in Castro’s jails. As Kennedy later confessed to Reston, his superpower rival had no doubt concluded that “I’m inexperienced. Probably thinks I’m stupid. Maybe most important, he thinks that I had no guts.” The perception of an  inexperienced leader with no guts was one that he had been struggling to reverse ever since. The news from Cuba reinforced Kennedy’s impression of Khrushchev as a “fucking liar.” He complained to his brother that the Soviet leader had behaved like “an immoral gangster . . . not as a statesman, not as a person with a sense of responsibility.” The question was how to respond. They would definitely step up U-2 reconnaissance of the island. Military options ranged from an air strike targeted on the missile sites alone to an all-out invasion. General Taylor warned that it would probably be impossible to destroy all the missiles in a single strike. “It’ll never be a hundred per cent, Mr. President.” Any military action was likely to escalate quickly to an invasion. The invasion plan called for as many as a hundred and fifty thousand men to land in Cuba a week after the initial air strikes. In the meantime, the Soviets might be able to launch one or two nuclear missiles against the United States. “We’re certainly going to do [option] number one,” Kennedy told his aides grimly, referring to the air strike. “We’re going to take out those missiles.” Tuesday, October 16, 2:30 p.m.  Robert Kennedy still had an angry glint in his eye later that afternoon when he met the men in charge of America’s secret war against Fidel Castro in his cavernous Justice Department office. He was determined to make clear the president’s “dissatisfaction” with Operation Mongoose, which had been under way for a year, achieving virtually nothing. Countless acts of sabotage had been planned, but none had been carried out successfully. Fidel and his bearded revolutionaries were still in power, inflicting daily humiliations on the United States. Officials from the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department were arrayed in a semicircle in front of the attorney general. A fresh assortment of his children’s watercolors decorated the walls, along with standard-issue government art. One of the documents on the untidy, paper-littered desk was a two-page memorandum captioned “secret mongoose” with the latest ideas for fomenting an insurrection inside Cuba. It had been put together by the CIA in response to prodding from the Kennedy brothers to be much more “aggressive.” RFK nodded approvingly as he glanced through the list: • Demolition of a railroad bridge in Pinar del Río province; • Grenade attack on the Chinese Communist embassy in Havana; • Mine the approaches to major Cuban harbors; • Set an oil tanker afire outside Havana or Matanzas; • Incendiary attacks against oil refineries in Havana and Santiago. The attorney general title masked Bobby’s true role in government, which was closer to that of deputy president. His extracurricular responsibilities included heading a secret committee known as the Special Group (Augmented), whose goal was to “get rid of” Castro and “liberate” Cuba from Communist domination. The addition of the president’s brother to the group—signified by the cryptic word “Augmented”—was a way of emphasizing its importance to the rest of the bureaucracy. Soon after taking personal control of Operation Mongoose in November 1961, Bobby had decreed that “the Cuban problem carries top priority in the U.S. government. No time, money, effort, or manpower is to be spared.” By coincidence, he had arranged a long-scheduled review of covert action plans against Cuba the very day that Soviet missiles were discovered on the island. Bobby chose his words carefully as he addressed the Special Group. Half the officials in the room were unaware of the latest developments, and the president had stressed the need for total secrecy. But it was difficult for him to conceal his anger as he talked about “the change in atmosphere in the United States government during the last twenty-four hours.” Frustrated by the lack of “push” in getting on with acts of sabotage, he announced that he planned to devote “more personal attention” to Mongoose. To accomplish this, he would meet with the Mongoose operational team every morning at 0930 until further notice. For Bobby, the appearance of Soviet missiles in the western hemisphere was not simply a political affront; it was a personal affront. He was the emotional member of the family, as rough and intense as his brother was smooth and calm. JFK had been humiliated once again by Castro and Khrushchev, and RFK was determined to redress the insult. He was extraordinarily competitive—even by the intensely competitive standards of the Kennedy clan—and the longest to nurse a grudge. “Everybody in my family forgives,” the family patriarch, Joseph Kennedy, Sr., had once remarked. “Except Bobby.”

Table of Contents

List of Maps ix

Preface xiii

Chapter 1 Americans 3

Chapter 2 Russians 32

Chapter 3 Cubans 58

Chapter 4 "Eyeball to Eyeball" 84

Chapter 5 "Till Hell Freezes Over" 112

Chapter 6 Intel 135

Chapter 7 Nukes 159

Chapter 8 Strike First 184

Chapter 9 Hunt for the Grozny 207

Chapter 10 Shootdown 230

Chapter 11 "Some Sonofabitch" 254

Chapter 12 "Run Like Hell" 276

Chapter 13 Cat and Mouse 297

Chapter 14 "Crate and Return" 321

Afterword 343

Acknowledgments and a Note on Sources 355

Notes 363

Index 407

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One Minute To Midnight 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Quite obviously the author has painstakingly researched those thirteen days of October 1962. Very well written, the story jumps off the pages as John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev wrestle with the demons of a potential nuclear holocaust. One miscalculation by either side could result in worldwide annihilation. If you¿re looking for a top notch book to read this is it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very easy to read. It gives a minute by minute account, which is something that many books don't offer. Out of all the history books I've read, this one was the greatest. The material covered is incredible. It doesn't only cover the U.S. side of the event, but of all those involved.
Undercover101 More than 1 year ago
This book started off great and at first I could not put it down, but then towards the middle it loses its steam. It became very boring with facts that I did not care about and did not relate to the Cuban Missile Crisis they were detailed descriptions of Kennedy's officials and their background stories.
Beej415 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because I had very little knowledge of the events that comprised the Cuban Missile Crisis. I really was only expecting a well-written history lesson. What I got was an emotionally engaging and dramatic re-enactment of those thirteen days. Michael Dobbs does an excellent job of creating and maintaining suspense while conveying fact after fact after fact. Sometimes the facts alone sufficed to establish drama, especially where, for example, Dobbs described the amount of firepower available to the United States on the second Sunday of the standoff. "By midday Sunday, [the U.S. Strategic Air Command] would have a 'cocked'--meaning 'ready to fire'--nuclear strike force of 162 missiles and 1,200 airplanes carrying 2,858 nuclear warheads." Add to this the fact that a single warhead carried by a B-52 bomber had a destructive power that was seventy times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the drama is set.The most valuable aspect of the book, and clearly the author's purpose in writing it, was the frequent portrayal of both Krushchev and Kennedy as seeking a peaceful resolution, but clearly and knowingly dealing with problems beyond their immediate control. The description of the hugely inflated times that it took messages to travel through diplomatic channels (many, many hours) demonstrated the point. How were Krushchev and Kennedy going to avoid nuclear war when diplomatic messages took so long to be received, yet missiles were on 15 minute alert? The smallest screw-up by anyone, even down to a soldier or pilot, could ignite the flame that began World War III.The "Afterword" alone is worth reading. In it, Dobbs persuasively argues that many American military decisions since the Cuban Missile Crisis have been premised on a mis-reading of its lessons. According to conventional wisdom, Kennedy's cool, clear decision-making strategy and strong showing of military might forced Krushchev to back down. As the book demonstrates, however, nothing was further from the truth. Yet, we can see remnants of that popular belief in the Vietnam War and even in Iraq.While One Minute to Midnight is not perfect (at times the level of detail is overwhelming and a bit gratuitous), it is an entertaining and eye-opening read about a series of events that brought us one small accident away from nuclear devastation.
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm woefully ignorant of much of 20th century history, so occasionally I make tepid attempts to shore that up. This was a fairly comprehensive review of the Cuban Missile Crisis, following an hour by hour format that covered events in Washington DC, Moscow, and Cuba. As one would expect, there is a lot of very specific information about types of missiles and where they were moving to and from. I, um, skimmed over much of this. There was plenty of focus on Kennedy and his administration and how they were dealing with the situation as it unfolded. One key difference between this book and the way the Cuban Missile Crisis is often presented is that Dobbs gives a much more evolving, collaborative picture of how the President and his advisers developed their responses, and in particular, highlights RFK's changing views between the initial discovery of the missiles and the ultimate resolution. Overall, the author credits both JFK and Khrushchev with being thoughtful, responsible leaders who approached their duties to their nations and the international community with gravitas.It also ends with an extremely chilling foreshadowing of the Kennedy assassination (there's no way that's a spoiler, right?) that was probably a little maudlin but really effective anyway. Here I am, reading this entire book and it's the last paragraph that grabs me.There was also an afterword that compares the leadership during the crisis with the Bush administration's actions in the Middle East, and it is not favorable. I could have done without this. I agree, actually, with the assessment but the tone was too shrill and scolding and I felt it took away from the book overall.Grade: BRecommended: It's certainly comprehensive and successfully organizes a great deal of information into a reasonable narrative. People interested in military history will no doubt appreciate the level of detail more than I was able to. There were only a few, very scant, accounts of the response of the general public -- the focus was almost entirely on the military and the political players.(less)
keylawk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the single month of October 1962, Fidel Castro, Jack Kennedy, and Nikita Khrushchev nearly annihilated the world in a nuclear conflagration. The Ireland-born American Harvardian scholar-journalist, Michael Dobbs, limns the details and touches upon the background which led to the confrontation.In 1897, the United States invaded the most prosperous island in the Carribean. The invasion of Cuba did result in an expansion of the Middle Classes on the island and one colonial power was removed, but the American invaders had no real plan for what would happen after their ¿splendid little war¿. World politics polarized into Fascist/Marxist factions, and at the turn of the century, fascists took over the island. Cuba became a haven for opportunistic criminals. In the mid-1950's, the island became the target of a hybrid manipulator who now holds the record for longevity among all living dictators.Fidel Castro promised ¿liberation¿ from the fascists who were his predecessors. From hideouts in the Sierra Maestro Mountains of eastern Cuba, ¿Fidelistas¿ launched an uprising against the 50,000-man army of the dictator, Fulgencia Batista, who fled the island in December 1958. While President Eisenhower was concluding his term, and at the height of the Cold War, Castro received the support of the American government. However, Castro began widespread persecution of his ¿opposition¿. Many Cubans fled the island. Castro broke off relations with the United States which offered refuge to fleeing Cubans, and declared Cuba a Marxist paradise.During the 1960 presidential election, a Democratic Party candidate, Senator Jack Kennedy, used the fact that the Republicans had supported Castro, as a campaign point, and he won the election. The Cuban refugees organized and lobbied for American support of an armed revolt against Castro. In April 1961, with a series of miscalculations and mis-communications, an attack was launched, now known as the ¿Bay of Pigs¿. This infamous example of idealist ineptitude ended in a military disaster for the rebels, largely as a result of the failure of the Kennedy Administration to understand or support the assault. After the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro became convinced that the Yanqui devils and Middle class Cubans whose property he had confiscated, would try again for regime change. At the height of the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev, the Chairman of the USSR, rose to power in his country as a provocateur and a bully. Castro turned to the Soviet Union for aid. The United States, after years of NATO and UN discussions, announced that long-range Jupiter missiles would be placed in Turkey. Under cover of denials and secrecy, and after the Bay of Pigs attack, the USSR shipped and deployed both tactical and strategic nuclear missiles into Cuba. In addition, more than 60,000 well-armed Russian soldiers accompanied the warheads. After the war footing on the island was discovered by the Americans, Castro and Khrushchev announced a mutual defense agreement. After claiming himself a nuclear power, in 1962 Castro declared war against the United States. He wrote to Khrushchev, insisting that he launch missiles against cities in the United States due to the ¿necessity¿ of a first strike to avert the ¿inevitable¿ invasion of his country. The crisis began.Fortunately, Khrushchev and Kennedy were veterans of hostilities and were sane. Their character almost alone averted a nuclear conflagration. [353] In the 46 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis took place, many thousands of books have been written on this subject, and almost all of them agree that the world almost destroyed itself. Most, however, were not written with the full availability of the records and facts which were ventilated by Mr. Dobbs in this work. He read recently-released archives and interviewed eye-witnesses across the linguistic and political barriers. Although US Air Force and Cuban sources remain closed, the CIA and Cuban-American community, and many Russian records
bezoar44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Narrative history of the Cuban missile crisis that focuses particularly intently on Saturday, October 27. The work reflects impressive historical research and presents new information on Soviet troop placements and the location of nuclear weapons in Cuba. More importantly for a general reader like me, the book does a particularly adept job of tracing the ways events threatened to escape the control of Kennedy and Khrushchev and propel the United States and the USSR into what would have been a devastating war. The book's new historical research reinforces the sense that the world was extraordinarily fortunate to make it through this crisis unscathed.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was born in 1961, so was only a small child when the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. I was only passingly familiar with both the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Missile Crisis prior to reading this book and therefore learned many new and interesting facts. After reading this account, I can only say that it must have been terrifying to have lived through the Crisis, the more you knew, the more frightening it must have been. The world was literally on the door step of a large scale nuclear exchange.Kennedy was a young, inexperienced President, fresh off the Bay of Pigs disaster and having been completely dominated by Khrushchev at their summit in Vienna. He was surrounded by an eclectic crew of advisors, from those equally as naïve and inexperienced as himself (namely his brother Bobby), egghead bureaucrats (such as Robert McNamara) and aging Cold Warriors (LeMay) who were eager for a showdown with the Soviets.Most troubling was the ¿chain of command¿ and delegation of authority as a result of which the lowest level bureaucrat or member of the armed forces (on either side) could have triggered a sequence of events leading to ultimate launching of missiles. When a national leader such as Castro and top level U. S. military advisors can be so adamantly in favor of a nuclear exchange, it certainly causes one to reflect upon our current world situation in which unstable democracies such as Pakistan and aspiring nuclear club members such as the theocracy governing Iran and the dysfunctional regime in Pyongyang virtually hold the world hostage through their possession of nuclear material and the devices to deliver them.This book should be required reading for anyone aspiring to leadership of a ¿nuclear club¿ member, and anyone dealing with such a member. After reading this book, and reflecting upon the impending nuclear proliferation, I must admit to a high degree of pessimism as it relates to the world¿s ability to avoid a nuclear exchange.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been listening to this for a few months and I learned a lot. But the thing that struck me is how very, very close we were to the end of the world. At one point, I called up my sister to explain to her exactly just how amazed I was that we were still alive. The reader, Bob Walter, was not great, but he was very good. He conveyed, at least to me, the emotions that Dobbs wrote into the text. I'm glad I read this book, but holy crap. There was a lot I didn't know about the Cuban Missile Crisis. And, finally, this isn't a book just about that event, it's about the built up and aftermath, as well as views from the Russians and the Cubans. Dobbs leaves no stone unturned and for that I applaud him.
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A new view on an old topic. Fast read and very interesting with stories never told before.
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