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DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis Kindle Edition
"DEFCON-2 is the best single volume on the Cuban Missile Crisis published and is an important contribution to the history of the Cold War. Beyond the military and political facts of the crisis, Polmar and Gresham sketch the personalities that created and coped with the crisis. They also show us how close we came to the edge without becoming sensationalistic."—Larry Bond, bestselling author of Dangerous Ground
Spy-satellite and aerial-reconnaissance photos reveal that one of the United States's bitterest enemies may be acquiring weapons of mass destruction and the means to use them against the American homeland. Administration officials refuse to accept intelligence professionals' interpretation of these images and order an end to spy missions over the offending nation. More than a month later, after vicious infighting, the president orders the spy missions to resume. The new photos reveal an array of ballistic missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads and striking deep within U.S. territory. It appears that the missiles will be fully operational within one week.
This is not a plot setup for a suspense novel; it is the true story of the most terrifying moment in the 45-year Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union: the Cuban Missile Crisis. DEFCON-2 tells this tale as it has never been told before—from both sides, with the help of hundreds of recently declassified U.S. and Soviet documents, as well as interviews with numerous former spies, military figures, and government officials who speak out here for the first time.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
""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)
- ASIN : B00H2VF8TI
- Publisher : Wiley; 1st edition (January 1, 2006)
- Publication date : January 1, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 7673 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 412 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,548 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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DEFCON-2 tells the story of the "Cuban Missile Crisis." It began in the fall of 1962. Frustrated and threatened by American missiles based in Europe, and seeking both a military and political foothold in the Western Hemisphere, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev decided to establish SS-4 medium-range and SS-5 intermediate-range nuclear-armed ballistic missile bases in Fidel Castro's Cuba. The clandestine operation was called "Anadyr." It did not remain secret for long. On October 14, an American U-2 spy plane flew a routine high-altitude reconnaissance mission over the Communist island. Intelligence analysts who later examined the photographs from the mission detected the construction of the missile bases. They raised the alarm, and within hours the crisis was on. Before it ended two weeks later, the U.S. and USSR came closer to waging nuclear war on each other than at any other time during the Cold War. The eventual peaceful resolution of the crisis was inarguably U.S. President John F. Kennedy's finest hour, a time in which he and his closest political and military advisors "really earned their paychecks."
There have been many other books about the Cuban Missile Crisis, but none have been as thoroughly researched, detailed and readable as "DEFCON-2." One of the advantages that historians and authors have today is that they can draw on literally thousands of documents that the former USSR has released from the KGB's most secret vaults. These documents reveal the Soviet side of past global events that, for Western researchers, had previously been shrouded in mystery and subject to conjecture. The U.S., albeit at a slow pace and with considerable resistance in some cases, also continues to declassify formerly secret documents. DEFCON-2 authors Norman Polmar and John D. Gresham took full advantage of such sources to construct the most comprehensive history yet of the Kennedy-Khrushchev game of "brinksmanship" that could have ended civilization as we know it. One of the facts that the authors reveal is that we were MUCH closer to nuclear war than previously thought.
With several useful appendices, 40 pages of chapter footnotes and an extensive bibliography, DEFCON-2 can serve as a stand-alone single-volume reference or as an excellent starting point for further research. I highly recommend it for students of the Cold War, for anyone who sweated through the crisis or for anyone who wants to learn a lesson from history.
- Both the USA and USSR misunderstood each others' character.
- Insights into Kennedy's support team, but a little light on the personal assessment of Kennedy himself.
- The international world did not seem to have a very high respect for the significance of the atom bomb.
- The American decision makers seemed much more interested in military objectives than a peaceful solution.
- The book revealed how random events can easily take control away from the leaders.
- The Russians appeared to be in better control than we were.
Perhaps one of the most enlightening aspects of the book was the background on Nikita Khruyshev. The bogeyman of my childhood has been redeemed; his was perhaps the coolest, wisest head during a nightmare.