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The Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro, and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs Hardcover – April 5, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Since JFK entered office on January 20th, 1961, and the Bay of Pigs occurred in early April, just a shade over two months later, it is highly likely that the invasion was planned during the previous administration. Seventy days is far too short a period to plan, train for, and execute such an operation. Nevertheless, President Kennedy must take and did take full responsibility for the mission and its failure.
The embarrassment was extensive, and as the President said to then CIA Director Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell who was Deputy Director for Plans, if this were a Parliamentary form of government, it would be me leaving office, but it is a democracy and therefore you and Dulles will suffer. Dulles and Bissell over a period of months were quietly forced into retirement.
Strangely, there have been only two real books written on the Bag of Pigs invasion in the last 50 years. One was by Haynes Johnson in 1964 while the other by Peter Wyden was done in 1979. The author of this book had access to two new sources of information. The first is the national Security Archives which are kept at George Washington University, and the second is the CIA Inspector General's report on the invasion which was written right after the failed invasion, but remained classified until recently.Read more ›
All of the true facts will never be known, but this is the definitive account of the events that took place in Cuba in the spring of 1961.
In a word, superb.
Undoubtedly, many will find that one or another of the involved parties doesn't receive enough condemnation in Rasenberger's account. But his aim appears to be to show how wise men commit folly not to find which head can be mounted on the highest pike.
Despite the generally well written text, one line by the writer brought a laugh. Talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, Rasenberger wrote: "For several days that October, Americans went to bed at night unsure that the world would still be there when they woke up.Read more ›
Rasenberger argues that planned regime change in Cuba resulted from our inability to live with a socialist government 90 miles from Florida rather than from any imminent danger to national security. He points to the "irrational forces and fears in the broad American public" combined with an attitude within American government that results were all that mattered. (CIA Bay of Pigs planner Richard Bissell is quoted in his memoirs saying, "My philosophy during my last 2 or 3 years in the agency was very definitely that the ends justified the means, and I was not going to be held back.")
Castro's takeover in Cuba dominated the first televised Presidential debates between Nixon and Kennedy. The strong positions taken by JFK in the debate and on the campaign trail served to limit his later flexibility in decision-making. In his first 90 days in office, the new president slowly and reluctantly moved forward with the invasion plan inherited from the prior administration while trying to learn upon whom he should depend for reliable information.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is simply one of the finest non-fiction books I have ever read. How it did not get a Pulitzer baffles me. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Eddy del Rio
I learned a lot more about JFK and how his unforeseen, rash, and last-second decision to withhold air support really was at the heart of spoiling our attempt at landing a military... Read morePublished 2 months ago by IMO
Very honest and insightful and filled with background facts previously unknown. A must read on the topic.Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
This is a great book and interesting read. Histories like this can be very dry and difficult to wade through, but this one is well-balanced. Read morePublished 4 months ago by govy1
The Bay of Pigs is already a fascinating story, but this book reads like a Tom Clancy thriller. The author made the events exciting and full of life. A total page turner!Published 6 months ago by Derek Beebe
One of the best books I've read, period. A great read for anyone interested in history, politics, or the cold war. The Kennedy's are viewed by some as American "royalty". Read morePublished 12 months ago by Don N