From Library Journal
If the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dire event of the Cold War, then the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 was the most absurd. Kornbluh (director, Cuban Documentation Ctr. Project of the National Security Archive; Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined, Lynne Rienner, 1997) includes the tedious but informative report of Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick, which largely blames the CIA for misleading President Kennedy. Richard Bissell, the CIA's deputy director for plans, responds with a similarly oppressive rebuttal that attributes the failure to Kennedy's need to ensure plausible deniability?to hide America's obvious role by committing limited, insufficient air support and troops. Additional supporting documents and an interview with the invasion planners show the Bay of Pigs fiasco to be what historian Theodore Draper calls "a perfect failure." For a narrative overview, see Ale Fursenko's One Hell of a Gamble (LJ 3/15/97). Primarily for specialists in the era.?Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
For nearly a year after the CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs in April 1961, memos flew back and forth challenging the objectivity and appropriateness of criticism of the agency's performance in the official report of its own inspector general, Lyman Kirkpatrick. For nearly 40 years thereafter, the CIA fought to keep the report and responses by operatives involved in the fiasco secret. The Freedom of Information Act, a CIA "openness" campaign, and a 1995 executive order finally made the documents available. It is clear why the report generated controversy: at a time when the agency was trying to shift responsibility to others in government, especially President Kennedy and the Defense and State departments, Kirkpatrick outlined CIA errors, from bad planning, poor staffing, and faulty intelligence to "failure to advise the President that success had become dubious." Most general readers won't care to wallow through either report or responses, yet libraries with special collection and study interests may want these essential historical documents. Mary Carroll
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