An edifying history that, given America’s current global diplomatic stance, is also timely and hopefully instructive to...



For 13 days in October 1962, during the hottest part of the Cold War, the fate of humanity was at stake.

During those two weeks, American U-2 spy planes flying above Cuba had discovered Soviet missile sites in an advanced stage of assembly. In this new history of the Cuban missile crisis, Sherman and Tougias (co-authors: The Finest Hours: The True Story of the Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue, 2009) sketch the swift development of the elegant U-2 commissioned by the CIA and highlight the signal courage and capability of its dedicated pilots. At the time, surveillance data showed that in less than two weeks, the Soviet nuclear missiles would be fully operational. President John F. Kennedy, keenly familiar with danger and death due to his service in World War II, prepared for World War III, ready to engage the Soviets in the Caribbean and destroy hundreds of targets in the Soviet Union. He assembled an advisory group that included, among many other significant figures, Allen Dulles, Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Bobby Kennedy, and Curtis LeMay. There were also functionaries on both sides who might trigger war inadvertently or, if they were short-tempered, even deliberately. The authors have assembled a page-turning narrative of their deliberations using extracts from White House tapes as well as archival research and conversations with some of those involved. At the Kremlin, Nikita Khrushchev was troubled and inscrutable, while Kennedy was deliberative. Opting for a naval blockade, he kept all forces at full readiness. Only at the last hours did diplomacy prevail. Kennedy was able to recall the ships, the Army, the Marines on standby, and the bombers bearing nuclear weapons. Thinking of what a lesser commander in chief might have done, readers will shudder.

An edifying history that, given America’s current global diplomatic stance, is also timely and hopefully instructive to those faced with similarly dire circumstances.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61039-804-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?


Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet