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When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis Hardcover – August, 2010


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When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis + Third Reich Victorious: Alternate Decisions of World War II
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; 1St Edition edition (August 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597975176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597975179
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Recommended for any military or general library.”

About the Author

Eric G. Swedin is an associate professor of history at Weber State University and the author of nine books, including Computers: The Life Story of a Technology. He lives near Ogden, Utah.

More About the Author

Eric G. Swedin is a professor in the History Department at Weber State University. His doctorate is in the history of science and technology. His publications include numerous articles, six history books, four science fiction novels, and a historical mystery novel. His "When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis" earned the 2010 Sidewise Award for best alternate history novel. Eric lives with his family in a house built in 1881. His web site is http://www.swedin.org/.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
The author shows fine scholarship and the style is very readable.
Ronald C. Tobin
Students of the Cold War know how close the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. came to nuclear war in October 1962, and this book describes what could have happened.
Paul Genesse
If I had one negative comment it would be that the Soviet leadership seems a little one dimension, but that is a minor quibble.
James J. Chapman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amerigo Vespucci on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Angels Wept is the story of a third world war stemming from a later discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba than occurred in our history. It does an excellent job of covering all aspects of the history, from the stories of individuals to the overall attack strategies employed by both sides and the aftereffects of such a war. It is written from the point of view of a historian in the alternate history and employs narrative devices to that effect, though not always to full effect.

The first third of the book covers events as occurred in our history, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the backgrounds of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and the development of atomic weapons and delivery vehicles before the imagined war. The middle third deals with the war, and this section moves quickly; you get caught up in the flow of events and are kept guessing about what comes next, even if you know a big war is on the horizon. The last third deals with the aftermath of the war and includes fairly extensive notes.

If you're not wholly familiar with the background of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the book does a good job of filling you in on any information you might need to understand the story. The problem is that such a reader isn't likely to pick up this book, in my opinion. It should have been written to appeal to a reader already familiar with the situation and interested in the /alternate/ portion of this alternate history, rather than the /history/ portion of it.

In my case, I came into this book extremely familiar with the history of the Crisis and having even done some alternate history writing on the topic. This book wasn't intended for me. Though the first third contained some nuggets of information new to me, it distracted from the middle third, which was the interesting part.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mary Elizabeth Lenaburg on October 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was better than I expected and I read a lot of Harry Turtledove and Peter G. Tsouras, as alternate history is one of my favorite genres. I actually found the back story interesting, although I have read both One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (Vintage)and DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis. In particular, I thought the author did an excellent job of projecting how Khrushchev would likely have tied together the Cuban situation with Berlin. The author also does an admirable job of integrating the character vignettes with his overall narrative. I rate books by how hard they are to put down, and I read this one in two days. If you like Resurrection Day, which I did, you will like this book.
J.Lenaburg
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Liddicoat on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent, well-written book that combines an outstanding and objective history of the events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis combined with an interesting alternate history of a nuclear exchange following attempted US invasion. There's an awful lot of badly-written, poorly-researched alternate history out there. This is worth your hard-earned money. You'll learn a lot about the real Cuban Missile Crisis.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The person buying this book would probably have a reasonably good knowledge of the actions and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Having said that, I found the 1st two thirds of the book rehashing the background of the crisis somewhat tedious.

When the author came to the fictional part of the book describing a possible scenario leading to a general nuclear exchange, it was obvious that he knew his stuff. His command of the facts was obvious and his tale riviting.

I only wish that he would have spent more time describing the exchange from the point of view of the participants.

I feel comfortable suggesting this book to any student of history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James J. Chapman on November 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very good book. It is a great blend of historical facts and background, mixed with just enough personal (fiction) stories to make the read fun. The author has extensively researched Cuban Missile Crisis and given a very plausible alternative to a peaceful settlement. The author provides lots of technical details and fits them nicely with and personalities of the day. If I had one negative comment it would be that the Soviet leadership seems a little one dimension, but that is a minor quibble. The vast bulk of the book looks at the tactical decisions and details leading up the the crisis and the projected US bombings/invasions, only at the end does the author offer some long term discussion of the world after the bombs falling. Buy it and enjoy it, I did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
WHEN ANGELS WEPT: A WHAT-IF HISTORY OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS uses research h made available after the Soviet Union's collapse to examine what could have happened if nuclear war had broken out between the U.S. and Cuba in 1962. Behind-the-scenes revelations - that top U.S. military officers all urged a bombing campaign and even full-scale invasion while the Soviet Union had tactile nuclear weapons in Cuba - make for a frightening alternative history recommended for any military or general library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Skip Gibson on May 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book outstanding in every way and it's one of the few "What-If" historical books written that is based on most of the actual things that happened in real life. Having grown up during this time when the Nuclear Sword hung over our heads, the Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most terrifying things which happened while I was a young person. What scared us at the time wasn't what the News Media told us, so much as what we imagined was happening, and we were not being told about. This book takes into account MUCH of the Information that was Unknown until after the Cold War and is absolutely chilling. I couldn't put this book down and the scholarship and research which was put into it is outstanding. I hope if you are interested, this will certainly give you the "feel" of what it was like to live through at the time, as well as what could have easily happened.
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