One Minute to Midnight

Michael Dobbs, Author . Knopf $27.95 (426p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4358-3

Washington Post reporter Dobbs (Saboteurs) is a master at telling stories as they unfold and from a variety of perspectives. In this re-examination of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Dobbs combines visits to Cuba, discussions with Russian participants and fingertip command of archival and printed U.S. sources to describe a wild ride that—contrary to the myth of Kennedy’s steel-nerved crisis management—was shaped by improvisation, guesswork and blind luck. Dobbs’s protagonists act not out of malevolence, incompetence or machismo. Kennedy, Khrushchev and their advisers emerge as men desperately seeking a handle on a situation no one wanted and no one could resolve. In a densely packed, fast-paced, suspenseful narrative, Dobbs presents the crisis from its early stages through the decision to blockade Cuba and Kennedy’s ordering of DEFCON 2, the last step before an attack, to the final resolution on October 27 and 28. The work’s climax is a detailed reconstruction of the dry-mouthed, sweaty-armpits environment of those final hours before both sides backed down. From first to last, this sustains Dobbs’s case that “crisis management” is a contradiction in terms. (June 5)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 426 pages - 978-0-09-949245-0
Open Ebook - 381 pages - 978-0-307-26936-2
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5459-1
Paperback - 426 pages - 978-1-4000-7891-2
Hardcover - 426 pages - 978-0-09-179666-2
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4070-0833-2
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