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Blue Moon over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis (General Aviation) Hardcover – August 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: General Aviation
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780960719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780960715
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I just finished the book and I think you hit a "Home Run." I was amazed at how much was going on during those 13 days that I didn't know anything about.  Lt Cdr Tad Riley (VFP-62 Blue Moon pilot:   vfp62.com/Blue_Moon_Reviews.html .

Blue Moon Over Cuba review by Penn State radio WPSU, a NPR station.  Hear the audio review at: wpsu.org/radio/single_entry/LL-4360/bookmark .

CAPT Ecker's memoir of the first mission on 23 October 1962, is heart-pumping stuff. . . .Blue Moon is also a treatise on the F-8 in general, and RF-8 specifically. . . .All in all, this book is very welcome as the 50th anniversary of the crisis approaches.  It is well worth reading from many perspectives, especially as an account of those tension-filled days when the entire world stood so close to the brink of its own destruction.  And that's no exaggeration.----Cdr. Peter Mersky USNR (ret.) for Wings of Gold Fall 2012 edition.

The co-author, who was a member of the squadron during the crisis, has taken Ecker's story and expanded it into a much larger narrative that tells how the crisis evolved and ended. . . .The book provides a good brief on the Navy's history of aerial reconnaissance and detailed information on the RF-8A and its cameras. . . .The photos in the book are superb, and their excellent captions add greatly to bringing the story of CAPT Ecker and his squadron to life. . . .This is a great book and highly recommended.  --Cdr. Doug Siegfried, USN(Ret)---The HOOK

The authors, both members of Light Photographic Squadron 62 during the crisis---Ecker was the commanding officer---tell the stories of the pilots and the missions they flew through the flak in their RF-8A Crusader jets to obtain the photographs President John F. Kennedy needed to make the informed decisions needed to avert nuclear war with the Soviet Union.---Richard R. Burgess SEAPOWER magazine.

"This book is extensively researched: it gives an even-handed and unbiased account of the US, Soviet and Cuban perspectives leading up to, during, and after October 1962."
--Jerry Jackson, BookMark, www.WPSU.org (September 2012)

"Many books have been written about [the Cuban Missile Crisis] and the decisions made by the president and his advisors, but none have covered the details of the Blue Moon aerial reconnaissance missions and the men who flew them ... The photos in the book are superb, and their excellent captions add greatly to bringing the story of CAPT Ecker and his squadron to life ... This is a great book and highly recommended."
--Doug Siegfried, The Hook (Fall 2012)

"This new book is based on the memoir of a recently-deceased CO of the U. S. Navy RF-8 squadron that flew the first, productive low-level missions over Cuba, and refined with material that only personal experience can bring by a former enlisted technician serving with that squadron at that time. The account provides several viewpoints into a highly readable and creditable story of just exactly how the Navy and Marine Corps aviators and gound crews contributed to the American response to the Soviets' highly provocative act of placing nuclear-armed missiles a scant 90 miles from the U. S. ... All in all, this new book is very welcome as the 50th anniversary of the crisis approaches. It is well worth reading from many perspectives, especially as an account of those tension-filled days when the entire world stood so close to the brink of its own destruction."
--Peter Mersky, Wings of Gold (Fall 2012)

"An entirely new perspective on the crisis, and is a "must" for any collection strong in either military topics or American history."
- The Midwest Book Review (November 2012)

"It is no exaggeration to say the book reads like a suspense thriller—no small feat, this being Jack’s first book."
- www.speedreraders.info

From the Author

Even in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the looming threat of more harm to come from al Qaeda, I don't sense the same national paranoia that my generation experienced during the Cold War.  The lingering horrible images of the total destruction of two Japanese cities by two relatively primitive atomic bombs were still imprinted on the American psyche, and the arms race that produced ever more powerful thermonuclear weapons made the Cold War years fraught with danger--both real and imagined.

Our objective in writing this story was to explain the history of the Cuban Missile Crisis through the experiences  of those who execute presidential commands--the so-called "tip of the spear," whose courage and competence, or lack of it, hold the security of the United States in their hands.  We provide the reader the experience and dangers of the crisis as seen from the cockpit of an operational, low-altitude, photo-reconnaissance jet. 

It is our hope that, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new generation of readers will learn the vital lesson that emerged from this Cold War stand-off: sometimes nations act irrationally in their national interest, and the resulting unintended consequences can thrust nuclear-armed countries into a death spiral that could impact all of human civilization.  This is the story of how men at all levels helped to prevent that fate.

Customer Reviews

The events detailed in the book are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Richard M. Flake
Mr Jack deserves congratulations by everyone in this country for detailing the events during such a tense period in our Nation's past.
David L Jackson
This book is an excellent history of the seldom reported low level recon performed by the US Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
David J. Wallace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David L Jackson on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I started the book last night and had to force myself to put it down. I
picked it back up this morning and just finished it. What a phenomenal
accomplishment. I was expecting more of a historical, factual based account
of the Cuban Missile Crisis backed up with memoirs only. What I experienced
was a riveting, suspense filled account of actual experiences combined with
character studies involving tense moments of decision making, emotions,
politics and drama. I was fully captivated, especially through the first 10
chapters. I have a new appreciation of the events that will have occurred 50
years ago next month.
Mr Jack deserves congratulations by everyone in this country for detailing the
events during such a tense period in our Nation's past. I am sure the entire
VFP-62 unit appreciates his accomplishment in documenting their
contribution. The Navy Unit Commendation Medal the unit received will be
only the beginning of deserved appreciations.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jon M. Corey, PhD on September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Blue Moon Over Cuba" is an exceptional work, simultaneously serving as a tribute to all of the United States Navy's surface and aviation personnel who admirably fulfilled a daunting and dangerous mission to gather critical intelligence over Cuba during an international crisis -- as well as being a stellar example of excellent research detail and outstanding writing by its authors. Beyond the highly positive reviews already provided on "Blue Moon," this work is a "must read" for anyone interested in obtaining or researching not only an overarching operational knowledge and technical understanding of the military intelligence activities that took place during the "Cuban Missile Calamity," but also for those wishing to garner insight and appreciation of the highly detailed personal and organizational perspectives "Blue Moon" provides that are not available elsewhere. More over, "Blue Moon" is an easy, accurate, and insightful read that further clarifies and underscores the major and unique impact the United States Navy had on strengthening United States sovereignty and security in forcing the Soviet Union to back-down and to remove their offensive missiles from Cuban soil. No other book embodies the compendium of information on the Cuban standoff "Blue Moon" affords; it will be a key asset and reference on anyone's bookshelf...!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By wally on September 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an important contribution to our history and the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It is about the naval aviation squadron that helped prevent nuclear war at the height of the cold war. It contains never before released details on how aerial photography played a major role in the resolution of a military confrontation that came too close to almost ending the world, as we know it today.

It is factual, thought provoking, and yet, an easy read. It points out the importance of the success of the mission as well as the high risks. The author provides some insights into the gaps in American intelligence gathering at the time.

The author outlined well how a judgment or misjudgment of a single individual at all levels could and did in some examples change the direction and out come of the conflict.

The release of this book is timely as we near the 50th anniversary of the Crisis of October 1962.

Blue Moon over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis (General Aviation)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rudnei D. da Cunha on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Blue Moon over Cuba" takes you to those dangerous days of October 1963 when the World was on the brink of a thermonuclear exchange between the USA and the USSR. The author, himself a US Navy photomate, has teamed with the late Cdr. Ecker - the Commanding Officer of VFP-62 "Fightin'-Photo" Squadron - who did the first low-level, high speed photographic reconnaissance over Cuba - and produced a most interesting book to read, covering not only the operational aspects of the missions but also the political side of the crisis, and shows how the former was the basis for Kennedy's political decisions to pursue the quarantine path instead of the air strikes. The book has several photographs and some line-drawings of the Vought F8U-1P (RF-8A) Crusaders employed by VFP-62. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damien Hunter on January 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A must read for anyone interested in the history of the Missile Crisis! Blue Moon Over Cuba gives a vivid account of how VFP-62's RF-8 Crusaders and their high-speed, low-altitude photo runs over Cuba, while under intense ground fire, provided President Kennedy and policymakers in Washington with detailed photographic proof of Soviet construction of nuclear missiles on the island in October 1962. This evidence helped photo interpreters identify precisely what weapons were being prepared, how fast construction was progressing, and to gave President Kennedy a realistic estimate of when the missiles would become operational. It also helped the military develop priority targets for air strikes, which were seriously considered in the first days of the Crisis, and were deemed a necessary prelude to invasion.

This is an important book about a select group of aviators on the front lines during perhaps the most dangerous moment of the Cold War, telling the story of how heavily the intelligence community, and the President of the United States, relied on state-of-the-art aerial reconnaissance to navigate a way out of a confrontation that had the world on the brink of nuclear war in the Fall of 1962.
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