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The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapesby David G Coleman
Synopses & Reviews
On October 28, 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba. Popular history has marked that day as the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a seminal moment in American history. As President Kennedy's secretly recorded White House tapes now reveal, the reality was not so simple. Nuclear missiles were still in Cuba, as were nuclear bombers, short-range missiles, and thousands of Soviet troops. From October 29, Kennedy had to walk a very fine line--push hard enough to get as much nuclear weaponry out of Cuba as possible, yet avoid forcing the volatile Khrushchev into a combative stance. On the domestic front, an election loomed and the press was bristling at White House "news management." Using new material from the tapes, historian David G. Coleman puts readers in the Oval Office during one of the most highly charged, and in the end most highly regarded, moments in American history.
"Coleman uses a neglected source as the basis for an unusual perspective on the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the narrative beginning after Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba. Director of the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program, Coleman uses secret White House tapes, authorized by President Kennedy, to show that the crisis didn't end there. A closely kept secret, the tapes offer 'unguarded, unrehearsed' testimony to the complex problems that remained as the missiles of October ostensibly stood down. Plugging leaks had high priority in the crisis's aftermath. in good part to shore up the administration's image of effectiveness. Kennedy's tacit acceptance of a nonnuclear Soviet military presence reflected his conviction that Khrushchev's miscalculations in Cuba could in turn lessen the tension over another cold war flashpoint, West Berlin — if America's administration spoke little, acted moderately, and showed a united front. That required a level of news management that by February 1963 led to political and media criticism sufficiently intense to inspire transparency. The decision to publicize intelligence information on the Cuban situation defused the immediate issue. It also, Coleman asserts, might have confirmed the missile crisis as 'a promising pivot point' had Kennedy's presidency not been truncated in Dallas. 20 photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A fly-on-the-wall narrative of the Oval Office in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, using JFK's secret White House tapes.
About the Author
The director of the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program, David G. Coleman is a history professor at the University of Virginia. He lives in Arlington.
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History and Social Science » Politics » General