The Cuban Missile Crisis (Paperback)
Thirteen Days on an Atomic Knife Edge, October 1962
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When the world held its breath …
It is more than 25 years since the end of the Cold War. It began over 75 years ago, in 1944 – long before the last shots of the Second World War had echoed across the wastelands of Eastern Europe – with the brutal Greek Civil War. The battle lines are no longer drawn, but they linger on, unwittingly or not, in conflict zones such as Syria, Somalia and Ukraine. In an era of mass-produced AK-47s and ICBMs, one such flashpoint was the Cuban Missile Crisis …
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was the closest the world has yet come to nuclear war, a time when the hands of the Doomsday Clock really did inch towards the witching hour of midnight. By placing nuclear missiles on the Caribbean island of Cuba where, potentially, they were able to threaten the eastern seaboard of the USA, Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union escalated the Cold War to a level that everyone feared but had never previously thought possible.
In a desperate and dangerous game of brinkmanship, for thirteen nerve-wracking days Premier Khrushchev and President Kennedy held the fate of the world in their hands. Kennedy, in particular, wrestled with a range of options – allow the missiles to stay, launch an air strike on the sites or invade Cuba. In the end, he did none of these but the solution to one of the deadliest dilemmas of the twentieth century proved to be a brave and dramatic moment in human history.
Bay of Pigs CIA's Cuban Disaster, April 1961 (Paperback)
Perhaps not in casualties but as far as prestige and standing in the world were concerned, the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 was the worst disaster to befall the USA since the War of 1812 when British forces burned the White House. Badly planned, badly organized, the affair was littered with mistakes from start to finish – not least with an inept performance by John F Kennedy and his new administration. Supposedly an attempt by Cuban exiles to regain their homeland, the whole operation was funded and equipped by the USA. When things began to go wrong with the landings at Playa Larga and Playa…By Phil Carradice
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