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DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis Hardcover – January 1, 2006
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""DEFCON-2 provides significantly more detail than any existing books on the subject. It's a valuable addition to the library of any intelligence professional."" (Naval Intelligence Professional Quarterly)
""One of the most striking accounts of the Cold War."" (Sea Power magazine)
Top Customer Reviews
Rather than simply providing us with a simple chronology or details of the individual events making up the crisis, Normal Polmar & John Gresham have combined to provide us with a solid explanatory volume of how this crisis nearly devolved into something akin to the end of the world as it was then known.
Providing details based on interviews from participants in the crisis and on recently declassified documents, Polmar & Gresham provide us with details not before seen, but critical in understanding the crisis.
The book does not simply explain the crisis from either the American or the Soviet side, but instead looks at it from three different viewpoints - the Americans, the Soviets, and the Cubans (primarily Fidel Castro). This makes for an enlightening & very useful study of this critical period in Cold War history.
I especially enjoyed the final chapter of the book - the lessons learned from Operation Anadyr (the Soviet code name for the installation of nuclear weapons in Cuba). I thought that the ananlysis presented in this chapter tied all of the previously written history together into a nice package. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a solid explanation of the Missile Crisis and just how close we really did come to global destruction.
From time to time since then more information has come out about what was really happening. And in very recent times de-classification of materials from the time and open discussion with some the people involved make it clear that this was a much more serious incidend that we thought at the time.
For instance there were some 40,000 Russian soldiers on the island that we didn't know about. These soldiers were armed with short range nuclear missiles. They had the authority to use them if the U.S. invaded. A few nukes set off in the midst of an invasion fleet would have made a real mess.
Some of the intelligence reports of the time were real good. Some of them were otherwise. Admidst the bluster and the threatening, cooler heads prevailed and nuclear was was avoided. Never again would the two superpowers come so close. Maybe the truth of this flight was enough to make the leaders of both powers back down.
This is the most complete, the most detailed report of what happened. It is a scary book.
The authors did a fine job of developing the "characters" in the story, men whose names I remember from childhood, including John and Robert Kennedy, McNamara, Rusk, LeMay, DeGaulle, and of course, Khrushchev. Perhaps the two most intriguing figures in the drama were Vice President Johnson, who was all but excluded purposely by the Kennedys, and SAC commander Gen Thomas Power, who angered President Kennedy with his unilateral, and provocative, actions. Surprisingly, French President DeGaulle fully supported Kennedy and the US, despite friction between the two nations over France's policies in Algeria at the time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Authors Norman Polmar and John D Gresham take you back to one of the most volatile times in recent history. October 1962; the world on the edge of an abyss. Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by LastRanger
- Reveals the effectiveness of lies and deception.
- Both the USA and USSR misunderstood each others' character. Read more
The two authors expertly present all of the details of the 1962 misle crisis within Cuba tht almost prompted a nuclear war with the United States. This bok is very well written. Read morePublished on July 2, 2007 by William D. Tompkins
For thirteen days in October 1962, the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war. The two global superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, brought their nuclear... Read morePublished on September 12, 2006 by Terry Sunday
Pros: very detailed account of the crisis and gives a good brief overview of the cold war (before and after). Read morePublished on July 24, 2006 by Slick