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Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean Hardcover – March 29, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…a mesmerizing, Conradian tale where the truth is almost too dark to bear. A remarkably gripping popular history."—Kirkus

 

"Von Tunzelmann’s diligent work will widen the eyes of cold war buffs.”--Booklist

 

Praise for Indian Summer

"Irreistible . . . A fascinating book that may well change how we look on the benighted world in which we live today."—Los Angeles Times

 

“Stirring…von Tunzelmann’s brisk narrative is propelled forward by the personalities of five memorable individuals who all wanted and worked for independence…absorbingly readable.”—Fortune

 

“Removes the veil from the colorful personalities and events behind India’s independence and partition with Pakistan...von Tunzelmann writes with authority and confidence.”—The Washington Post

 

"[A] captivating group portrait, pulling forth the most telling details of each figure's inner life. . .To have turned an era of such significance and continuing relevance into a page-turner, to both entertain and educate, is an admirable accomplishment."—San Francisco Chronicle

 

“This brilliantly written, dramatic, and at times controversial account of empire in India is almost impossible to put down. With it, von Tunzelmann has proven herself a force with which to be reckoned, both as a writer and as an historian."—Caroline Elkins, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya

"A brilliantly vivid page-turner that captures the backstage dramas raging on the eve of India's independence."—Tina Brown

About the Author

Alex von Tunzelmann is the author of Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean and Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire. She was educated at Oxford and lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1St Edition edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805090673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090673
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Jones on April 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book scintillates and resonates. One finds oneself sometimes shaking one's head at the folly of Kennedy and the CIA - but then laughing out loud almost at their Keystone Cops antics. Von Tunzelmann's argument is that America helped cause that which is sought to prevent - the rise of a Communist Cuba. Her argument is a persuasive one.
But, as well as argumentative history, Red Heat is a tour de force of narrative history - fizzing with stories of espionage, sex, sadism and statecraft.
Refreshingly the author has not sacrificed her sense of decency or sense of humour in dealing with the story (Red Heat is perhaps the funniest serious history book I have read in a while, in terms of the author's asides, chapter headings and use of piquant quotations). Kennedy is no saint, Che Guevara no martyr.
This is a splended book, which should re-engage those who remember the age - and entertain and inform those who missed it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nicodemus on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
in reference to a less flattering review herein I would point out that the author illuminates how in another not so distant past, we chose our "friends" not for their virtues but rather because we shared common enemies. in that era it was communism, today it is religious based terrorism. and where there were no enemies our "friends" quickly learned the value of creating them. what have we learned? but politics aside, regardless her bias Ms. von Tunzelmann has the gift of rendering history extremely entertaining. just when a more serious author might allow the facts to make things sluggish, her prose soars with a delicious anecdote. highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson on May 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In this study of American involvement in Caribbean politics during the turbulent 50s and 60s, von Tunzelmann offers her readers a more intensive view of events and personalities shaping this period than is normally available. As a relatively new historian, she has taken upon herself the complex task of determining why American involvement grew in this region over several decades and how it played through in affecting US foreign policy in other parts of the world like Vietnam. While much of the detail she uses in her book is well known, her use of them to define the scope of American influence in countries like Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic is very enlightening. There is a lot of respect - not fawning admiration - for how Castro steered a survival course between his American-backed opponents. The American trade embargo of Cuba comes in for considerable criticism as being economically ineffective and politically short-sighted. Over the long haul, the US stubbornly clung to the notion that there had to be a regime change in Cuba at all costs. As a result, successive administrations used the same hard-headed, draconian tactics to keep the region locked in poverty and instability.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Guenter Langer on November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Alex von Tunzelmann: Red Heat - Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2011.

Alex von Tunzelmann was educated in Oxford and lives in London. Her book deals mainly with the last 100 years of Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, the history of brutal dictatorships, revolutions and imperialist (US) interference. Her view is refreshingly objective. She neither spares criticism of the main culprits (Batista, Papa Doc, Trujillo, Eisenhower, the Kennedy and Castro brothers) nor does she forget the fate of the people. Without the anticommunist phobia of the time, in particular in the USA, history in all those countries probably would have taken a different course.

Most importantly, of course, is the course the Cuban revolution took. Without US ignorance and anticommunist bias Fidel might not have followed the communist route favored by his younger brother, Raul, and by Ché Guevara. Fidel is described as a radical social democrat who always kept his distance to the Communist Party, which was somehow complicit in the Batista dictatorship. He tried not to antagonize the USA in any way but was nevertheless pushed by the Eisenhower administration to lean more on his more leftist fellow revolutionaries. The Kennedy brothers played an even more hawkish role, in particular Robert. They inherited the Bay of Pigs campaign, lost it, and tried to take revenge for this loss by isolating Cuba in the hemisphere (OAS), putting an economic boycott in place, by planning Castro's murder and the overthrow of his then popular regime. JFK only felt vindicated after he achieved a success in the missile crisis against Nikita Krushchev.
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