The Missiles of October: The Declassified Story of John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Robert Smith Thompson, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-76806-5
Based on newly declassified material, Thompson's thoughtful reassessment confirms the Soviet claim that the Americans were preparing an all-out invasion of Cuba, that Khrushchev placed missiles in Cuba to forestall it and that President Kennedy, in order to resolve the ensuing crisis, made many more concessions than he publicly admitted. This is the first study to treat JFK's handling of the Cuban missile crisis primarily in terms of presidential weakness: ``The Bay of Pigs was a failure. Laos was a failure. Vienna was a failure. JFK needed a victory, desperately.'' Thompson ( A Time for War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Path to Pearl Harbor ) describes Kennedy's efforts to give the impression of standing up to the Russians and winning a great victory, when in fact he was forced to agree privately to the Soviet leader's terms--pledging not to invade Cuba and trading withdrawal of U.S. missiles in Turkey for withdrawal of Soviet missiles in Cuba--while hoping that his political enemies would not find out. The author concludes that Khruschev ``beat Kennedy in Vienna'' and ``beat him again in Cuba.'' A controversial slant on one of the most dangerous moments in history. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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