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The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November (Cold War International History Project) Hardcover – November 28, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Expertly edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, the director of Russian programs at the National Security Archive, the book is an invaluable and essential resource for understanding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Summing Up: Essential."—D. J. Dunn, CHOICE


"This marvelous volume by Mikoyan's late son, appearing only now in English, recounts the tough negotiations that followed between his father, the Cuban leadership, and the Kennedy administration . . . The book's appendix features 50 documents carefully selected from Mikoyan's personal papers and Soviet archives that offer many fascinating glimpses of some leading personalities of the Cold War era."—Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs

About the Author

Sergo Mikoyan, who died in 2010, was a historian specializing in Latin America and in Soviet-Latin American relations. Svetlana Savranskaya is a research fellow at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cold War International History Project
  • Hardcover: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (November 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804762015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804762014
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,881,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Yes, at $58 (Prime), one must save and budget for this book, which just became available in English (a fabulous translation; also, terrific editor's notes interspersed). The author, the late Sergo Mikoyan, was the son of Krushchev's top lieutenant, Anastas Mikoyan, Deputy Prime Minister. He bases this account on his own observations (he accompanied his father on many of the diplomatic missions); his father's accounts; and, quite refreshingly, more than 50 contemporaneous primary documents (notes, telegrams/cables, transcriptions of meetings)--all from the confidential Soviet and Cuba perspective. Each document appears verbatim, and each chapter has excellent source notes.

Time frame is late October to late November 1962. So far as the world believes, the "Cuban Missile Crisis" is over. But for the Soviets, reality is that they have one heck of a mess on their hands. Numerous tactical nuclear weapons--not known to the U.S. nor included in the Soviet pledge to extricate--remain in Cuba, and the Kremlin wants to keep them on the island. But Castro increasingly disturbs and worries the Soviets in his anger that the Kremlin did not apprise him of talks and results. First opposing nuclear deployment in Cuba, Castro (and Che Guevara, most notably) are defiant, untrusting and passionate about the prospect of Cuba being the only nuclear power in South America. Besides, what reason would Castro have to believe America's non-invasion pledge? Soviet concern about Castro's intentions quickly becomes deadly alarm. The USSR decides it wants to remove the secret nukes, but Castro is volatile.

Anastas Mikoyan later joked that being sent to resolve this extremely dangerous mess was pay-back for his having opposed initially deployment in Cuba.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, the title of this work is misleading. It is not really "The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis". It is "Anastas Mikoyan's Cuban Missile Crisis", and it is a translation of a book written by Mikoyan's son, Sergo Mikoyan.

The objectivity of Sergo Mikoyan is highly questionable, for the obvious reason that he is writing about his own father and is hardly going to present his father in an unfavorable light. Secondly, Sergo was in his early 20s in 1960-62, and was permitted to accompany his father on trips to Cuba. However, Sergo did not attend any Politburo sessions at which important decisions were made, nor apparently was he present during critical meetings between his father and Fidel Castro. The book therefore relies to a large extent on what Sergo remembers that his father said about important events long after the fact. Much of the book is thus no more than hearsay -- what Sergo claims his father said. This is not totally without value, but can hardly be considered authoritative. The blurb on the back jacket that the book primarily uses Russian-language sources is not true -- very few of the very small number of footnotes refer to Russian-language sources.

Sergo Mikoyan was clearly a child of his time and place -- born in 1929, he was the son of an old Bolshevik, and he enjoyed great privilege in Khrushchev's USSR. Sergo was over 60 when the USSR collapsed, and it is abundantly clear that he retained the mental attitudes formed before 1991. This is a "pro-Soviet" history -- the Soviets are the good guys and the Americans are the bad guys. There is really nothing in this book that is inconsistent with what Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs dictated in the late 1960s.
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A major conttibution to our understanding of the crisis. Kudos to Svetlana Skarvanskial, who worked with the younger Mikoyan to get this work written.
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The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November (Cold War International History Project)
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