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One Minute to Midnight Kennedy Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

FREE READ One Minute to Midnight Kennedy Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War í PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB In October 1962 at the height of the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union appeared to be sliding inexorably toward a nuclear conflict over the placement of missiles in Cuba Veteran Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs has pored over previously untapped American Soviet and Cuban sources to produce the most authoritative book yet on the Cuban missile crisis In his hour by hour chronicle of those near fatal days Dobbs reveals some startling new incidents that illustrate how close we really did come to Armageddon Here for the first time are gripping accounts of Khrushchev. The Doomsday Clock is one of the great attention grabbers ever devised It is a symbolic clock created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to represent the countdown to a nuclear war At least initially Now the representation also includes climate change Once the clock strikes midnight Cinderella turns into a shadow on the wall from the thermal radiation of an atomic blast The Doomsday Clock appropriately lends itself to the title of Michael Dobbs s One Minute to Midnight a detailed account of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis That event precipitated by the discovery of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba took the world closer to nuclear war than perhaps it s ever been before or since This is the first book I ve read devoted specifically to the crisis I picked it for several reasons It was published in 2008 meaning it had fuller access to documents than earlier books It appeared comprehensive And most important it wasn t written or influenced by a participant In other words I wanted a bit of objectivity Dobbs s stated intent was write the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis as minute by minute account ala Cornelius Ryan in The Longest Day or William Manchester s Death of a President He certainly has the eye for detail and a broad cast of characters This is not a book that dwells long in White House or Kremlin but zips about to players large and small spread across the world Unfortunately Dobbs does not uite have the literary abilities of Ryan or Manchester but most do not Dobbs opens his narrative on Tuesday October 16 1962 at 1150 am This is the kind of over detailed datelining that Dobbs maintains throughout the book He is not joking about making this minute to minute On that day the CIA s chief photo interpreter showed John F Kennedy the spy photographs taken of Soviet medium range ballistic missiles capable of putting a nuke into Washington DC in thirteen minutes The missiles had been snuck into Cuba under orders by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev who hoped to get them operational before presenting them as a fait accompli to the United States To Khrushchev this was a fair response to the emplacement of US Jupiter missiles in Turkey which Khrushchev took as a personal threat he would tell guests the Jupiter missiles were aimed suarely at his dacha One of the interesting things in Dobbs telling is how the threat of war did not come from either the Soviet Premier or the US President Both Khrushchev and Kennedy though only thinly characterized are presented as calm rational and intelligent Very early into the Crisis though unbeknownst to the US Khrushchev had already made the decision to pull the missiles out Thus some of the American ploys chief among them the famous uarantine were probably not the preeminent reason for Khrushchev backing down The two wildcards in this story are the US Military and Fidel Castro The Joint Chiefs solution to the problem was a full scale invasion Because of course it was They believed nothing else would serve to remove the missiles or preserve American security The problem as Dobbs explains is that Castro s megalomaniacal side really flourished with his hands near the nuclear trigger He was than ready to use tactical nukes on an invasion force a possibility that is terrifying to consider What would the United States have done if the Cubans had slammed a tactical nuclear warhead onto the beaches of Tarar immolating the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions It becomes a very small step from a regional nuclear war with thousands of dead Americans to a global thermonuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union And since the SIOP included Chinese Communist targets there s a possibility that China would have got it too According to Dobbs many of the stories told in One Minute to Midnight have never been published before Dobbs is certain to make sure when he is introducing this material Usually I would have seen this as a somewhat awkward and less than humble approach to storytelling However as a newcomer to the Cuban Missile Crisis this was actually helpful Some of these factoids include the plans to destroy the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay the US did not know it but those missiles were emplaced the fact that a Russian sub went so far as to target a US warship with a nuclear torpedo and an accidental overflight of the USSR by an American spy plane during a period of time when it was best not to overfly the Soviet Union This is an information dense 353 hardcover pages Dobbs does his best to put you everywhere from the high level ExComm meetings to a nuclear armed F 106 jet crash landing on a runway outside Terra Haute Indiana The breadth of detail gives you the epic sweep of events It also at times becomes a bit too pointillist You can start to lose the main thread in the mass of smaller digressions I think I might have appreciated a bit of an overarching framework but this is partially a function of the fact that I brought little prior knowledge to the table I think this might be the reason that it took me awhile to finish this even though it is of modest length and larded with all the drama you d expect The pacing just seemed a bit off The Cuban Missile Crisis continues to fascinate to this day The leadership exhibited on both sides but mostly the role played by President Kennedy has been both lauded and criticized Dobbs maintains a pretty objective tone but his insistence on de mythologizing the Kennedy centric accounts especially Robert Kennedy s Thirteen Days and his random inclusion of JFK s sexual dalliances without any explanation as to how this affected his management of the Crisis leads me to believe he is not John Kennedy s greatest admirer I might be wrong In any event he got the job done Hindsight is a much maligned historical tool but with its clarifying benefit we can see that Kennedy ultimately succeeded Exhibit A of course is the nuclear war that never occurred It can sometimes be difficult for a narrative historian to create tension when the outcome of a story is already well known Dobbs isn t the most graceful or propulsive writer But he finds that tension in all the little known stories from people around the globe who terrifyingly had the ability to trigger the great cataclysm of mankind

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FREE READ One Minute to Midnight Kennedy Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War í PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB 's plan to destroy the US naval base at Guantanamo; the accidental overflight of the Soviet Union by an American spy plane; the movement of Soviet nuclear warheads around Cuba during the tensest days of the crisis; the activities of CIA agents inside Cuba; and the crash landing of an American F 106 jet with a live nuclear weapon on board Dobbs takes us inside the White House and the Kremlin as Kennedy and Khrushchev rational intelligent men separated by an ocean of ideological suspicion agonize over the possibility of war He shows how these two leaders recognized the terrifying re. Dobb s effectively argues that once the Cuban missile crisis was set in motion the difficulty for the two leaders was not deciding to prevent an escalation which would almost surely have lead to nuclear war but rather preventing the situation from spiraling out of control despite their wishes The terrible timing of many smaller events during the crisis could have easily turned any one of them into a match for nuclear war Most disturbing were the many descriptions of single low ranked individuals both American and Soviet who were directly responsible and capable of launching or detonating nuclear weapons during the crisis These individuals through misinformation accident insanity lack of sleep or any other reason could have solely obliterated hundreds of thousands of people and sparked WWIII Ultimately Dobb s led me to the conclusion that a nuclear war was just as likely to be caused by accident as by any intentional action on the part of Kennedy or KruschevDobb s also persuasively argues that the peaceful outcome was due to the fact that both Kennedy and Krushchev were intelligent reasonable and good human beings and he points out that not all leaders are Despite this Dobb s relegates the human aspect of the leaders to a roll of partial importance highlighting the many powerful but less critiued forces at work during the crisis Among these are the political tug o war between the Pentagon and the White House those within the cabinet itself Krushchev s struggles with the Communist party basic problems of military protocol and chain of command communications or lack thereof bad military intelligience and even small players trying to make a name for themselves One Minute To Midnight left me with a strong sense that even in the best of times the strongest governments are held together by string Nukes were always a bad idea but in this context and in a world with an increasing number of nuclear armed countries the future looks grim

Michael Dobbs ½ 6 FREE READ

FREE READ One Minute to Midnight Kennedy Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War í PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Alities of the nuclear age while Castro never swayed by conventional political considerations demonstrated the messianic ambition of a man selected by history for a uniue mission As the story unfolds Dobbs brings us onto the decks of American ships patrolling Cuba; inside sweltering Soviet submarines and missile units as they ready their warheads; and onto the streets of Miami where anti Castro exiles plot the dictator's overthrow Based on exhaustive new research and told in breathtaking prose here is ariveting account of history's most dangerous hours full of lessons for our time. Michael Dobbs fascinating trawl through the historical archives has produced a worthy examination of the Cuban Missile Crisis in his 2008 publication of One Minute To Midnight For those readers who were alive in 1962 as well as those born since this book should convince all how lucky we are to be alive and kickingDobbs also taught me that one of my favourite movies Kubrick s DrStrangelove contained a serious flaw It wasn t insane enough Here was the real thing with crazy military personalities the fledgling technologies of the day mistakes and chance events The thirteen days in October of 62 certainly saw us a hair s breadth away from ArmageddonConcluding his review in the final paragraph of the Afterword Dobbs writes The story of the missile crisis is replete with misunderstandings and miscalculations But something than dumb luck was involved in sidestepping a nuclear apocalypse The real good fortune is that men as sane and level headed as John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev occupied the White House and the Kremlin in October 1962As well researched and written as this is I find fault with the arrangement of the Notes for each chapter placed at the end of this book Also in Dobbs Postscript he can state that John F Kennedy was murdered in November 1963 His assassin had been active in a left wing protest group that called itself Fair Play for Cuba More research reuired here Mr Dobbs

  • Hardcover
  • 384
  • One Minute to Midnight Kennedy Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War
  • Michael Dobbs
  • English
  • 12 December 2020
  • 9780091796662