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The Week the World Stood Still: Inside the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis (Stanford Nuclear Age Series) Paperback – January 18, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0804750776 ISBN-10: 0804750777 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Stanford Nuclear Age Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1st edition (January 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804750777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804750776
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Week The World Stood Still is an impressive work of scholarship that is also highly recommended for non-specialist general readers with an interest in the history of the Cold War era."—The Midwest Book Review

From the Inside Flap

The Cuban missile crisis was the most dangerous confrontation of the Cold War and the most perilous moment in American history. In this dramatic narrative written especially for students and general readers, Sheldon M. Stern, longtime historian at the John F. Kennedy Library, enables the reader to follow the often harrowing twists and turns of the crisis.
Based on the author’s authoritative transcriptions of the secretly recorded ExComm meetings, the book conveys the emotional ambiance of the meetings by capturing striking moments of tension and anger as well as occasional humorous intervals. Unlike today's readers, the participants did not have the luxury of knowing how this potentially catastrophic showdown would turn out, and their uncertainty often gives their discussions the nerve-racking quality of a fictional thriller. As President Kennedy told his advisers, “What we are doing is throwing down a card on the table in a game which we don't know the ending of.”
Stern documents that JFK and his administration bore a substantial share of the responsibility for the crisis. Covert operations in Cuba, including efforts to kill Fidel Castro, had convinced Nikita Khrushchev that only the deployment of nuclear weapons could protect Cuba from imminent attack. However, President Kennedy, a seasoned Cold Warrior in public, was deeply suspicious of military solutions to political problems and appalled by the prospect of nuclear war. He consistently steered policy makers away from an apocalyptic nuclear conflict, measuring each move and countermove with an eye to averting what he called, with stark eloquence, “the final failure.”

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
It was very interesting to me to read about it and understand what it was all about.
Renae Baker
Sheldon Stern has presented a harrowing study of one of the most dangerous events in World History - The Cuban Missile Crisis.
Frederick C. Freitas
He also add parallel information of key events outside the recorded rooms and put all together in a very coherent form.
Gualdemar Gutierrez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Cuban missile crisis was the most dangerous moment of the Cold War and has received numerous analysis in other titles and articles. What makes Sheldon M. Stern's The Week The World Stood Still: Inside The Secret Cuban Missile Crisis different is its focus on a narrative written for students and general readers. The author's own transcriptions of the secretly recorded ExComm meetings serves as a foundation for an analysis which captures the striking moments of tension behind the scenes. The newest addition to the "Stanford Nuclear Age Series", The Week The World Stood Still is an impressive work of scholarship that is also highly recommended for non-specialist general readers with an interest in the history of the Cold War era.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Herbert S. Parmet on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sheldon Stern takes us right into perhaps the most important decision-making in U.S. history. This account has been scrupulously put together from the primary sources, including the taped deliberations. Kennedy no longer emerges as a simplistic "cold warrior" but as a statesman whose value has even been enhanced by subsequent events. This is about as definitive account as we are likely to get, and is essentially reading for anyone who wants to be informed about those days of crisis.

Herbert S. Parmet
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gualdemar Gutierrez on June 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this book is a must for the understanding how the events evolved in those very difficult 13 days. The Author has made an excellent work in putting in a readable way hours of recordings that he himself heard over and over again. He did not fill any gaps but added the mood and the expresions of the word being said, and that greatly help to understand the situation. He also add parallel information of key events outside the recorded rooms and put all together in a very coherent form.
For us having suffered the chaos of the '60 as a collateral damage, knowing first hand what was happening in the Capital of the World is a revealing experience.
Also you can recognise the importance that the leadership had in both sides of the equation. The pressures, the uncertainty, the evident so called truth that a Leader has to overcome to find the right path in spite of them all is encouraging.
Hence I recommed this book to anyone who still want to know a great deal of the truth on the Cuban Crisis and learn first hand some excellent example of political leadership.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frederick C. Freitas on September 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sheldon Stern has presented a harrowing study of one of the most dangerous events in World History - The Cuban Missile Crisis. In his book, The Week the World Stood Still: Inside the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis, we are presented with an event whose story line reads like it was written by a Robert Ludlum-like mystery writer, this story, however, was frighteningly true history. With the careful, thoughtful, and thorough research that is Mr. Stern's trademark, the reader is presented with the complete inside story of that fateful week. This is a must read for, not only students, but adults as well. Kudos!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good! I made this purchase because I needed it for one of my college classes and it is definitely helping me. I used standard shipping and it came in the mail in just a week.
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Format: Paperback
From 1977 to 1999, Sheldon M. Stern served as Historian of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. In 2003, Stern published Averting ‘The Final Failure’: John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). The author describes that book as a “full-length” account based primarily on tape recordings of meetings that were held in the Cabinet Room and Oval Office of the White House during the crisis. Two years later, in 2005, Stern published The Week the World Stood Still, the book under review. In his “Acknowledgments,” he explains that this later work is a “revised and condensed version of Averting ‘The Final Failure’,” designed especially for “students and general readers.”

In Chapter One, “The JFK Cuban Missile Crisis Tapes,” Stern describes both the delight and the frustration of listening to the recordings of the meetings. He relates the tedium of using the tapes, often incomplete and sometimes poor in quality, in order to identify who was speaking and what each person said. He also tells some of the story behind the production of the tapes: of JFK’s request for a recording system in the White House, the system itself and how it worked, etc. Finally, he disputes the notion that because only President Kennedy and his brother Robert knew that they were being recorded, the tapes fail to capture honest dialogue, but instead record the Kennedys posturing for posterity. In defense of his assertion, the author notes that a freewheeling conversation among fifteen bright people would be impossible to manipulate. Besides, like Richard M. Nixon a decade later, President Kennedy never imagined that anyone else would ever have access to his tapes.
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By Renae Baker on February 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was 15 when president Kennedy was assassinated, so I wasn't totally aware of exactly what was happening at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was very interesting to me to read about it and understand what it was all about. I was fascinated with the book. It took me back to a time when I didn't quite understand what was happening or realize the seriousness of what could have happened. Wonderful book.
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