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ISBN:0804783772
Author: Sheldon M. Stern
ISBN13: 978-0804783774
Title: The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality (Stanford Nuclear Age Series)
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Language: English
Category: Humanities
Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (September 5, 2012)
Pages: 208

The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality (Stanford Nuclear Age Series) by Sheldon M. Stern



The Cuban missile crisis may be the most thoroughly documented yet grossly misunderstood episode in Cold War history, and the value of Sheldon Stern's splendid book is that it punctures the myths and unearths the truth so compellingly, drawing on irrefutable evidence, that you'll never think about the crisis or about JFK and his 'best and brightest' advisers in the same. Karl Helicher Library Journal). The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory offers a compelling reassessment of events. Using tapes of ExComm meetings (the ad hoc group formed to meet the crisis), Stern challenges much of the received wisdom. In particular, he rejects Robert F. Kennedy's dovish self-portrayal in Thirteen Days (1969), finding instead a consistent hardliner who, for instance, opposed an American naval blockade in favor of air strikes. James Clyde Sellman Colloquy).

Series: Stanford nuclear age series. S 97. 106'4-dC23 Typeset at Stanford University Press in 10114 Minion. With the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis fast approaching, some scholars have questioned whether there is really anything new to say about the nuclear superpower confrontation of October 1962.

Home Browse Books Book details, The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory:. The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality. This book exposes the misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies that have shaped the still dominant but largely mythical version of what happened in the White House during those harrowing two weeks of secret Cuban missile crisis deliberations.

Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012. In this book, Sheldon M. Stern reexamines how the Kennedy administration handled the Cuban missile cri-sis. He examines it using recently declassified and newly released recordings from the White House. Included in the more than forty-three hours of recordings are most of the meetings held by the Executive Committee of the Na-tional Security.

Stanford Nuclear Age Series. By: Sheldon M. Stern. Narrated by: Bob Dunsworth. Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins. Informed and informative, The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory is a seminal work of impressive scholarship and a highly recommended addition to academic library 20th Century American History reference collections in general, and . Soviet Union Cold War Studies supplemental reading lists in particular.

Part of the Stanford Nuclear Age Series series.

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This book exposes the misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies that have shaped the still dominant but largely mythical version of what happened in the White House during those harrowing two weeks of secret Cuban missile crisis deliberations  . Published September 5th 2012 by Stanford University Press.

The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality (Stanford Nuclear Age Series). Get started today for free. By College By High School By Country.

This book exposes the misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies that have shaped the still dominant but largely mythical version of what happened in the White House during those harrowing two weeks of secret Cuban missile crisis deliberations. A half-century after the event it is surely time to demonstrate, once and for all, that RFK's Thirteen Days and the personal memoirs of other ExComm members cannot be taken seriously as historically accurate accounts of the ExComm meetings.

Reviews: 7
Eseve
I was a bit disappointed. I went looking for books on this topic by Sheldon Stern for the specific reason that he's been referenced as the researcher who has listened to all the source tapes that were made during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So I thought I'd be seeing a lot of the actual dialogue for the key parts of the crisis.... like the discussion between the JCS guys and others discussion the response to the Cuban downing of the U2, or the dialogue having to do with processing the information about the Russian Submarines threatening the blockade. The book is not like that. Instead, it's organized in mini-viginettes of the players with description and quotes to support the author's hypothesis. Other reviewers noted that Mr. Stern portrays Bobby Kennedy as a less than informed hawk and dispute the claim. Unfortunately, we get quotes and descriptions but none of the dialogue that put the descriptions in context of the attitudes and comments of the other players in the meetings.

I almost cried when the author described JFK making audio recordings of his thoughts about the crisis when it was in full swing and he was alone, at night, summarizing into the recorder. Not in the book. Just some references to the act and the flavor. Although not lost to history, there's a lot lost to history if you get my meaning.

So this is a good book for folks to get a summary of what "really" happened by an author who had the credibility required of the subject but not the inclination to let us decide from the dialogue ourselves. He recognizes the fact right off the bat like you will and points the reader to the availability of the source recordings on the web. So you really don't need to read the book if you're looking for the detailed perspective that the author and his reviewers portend this book provides. Go to the University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs where you can hear the audio.
Ishnjurus
Almost everyone knows that Richard Nixon recorded every conversation that went on in the Oval Office. Nobody, including distinguished journalists whom I have met, are aware that Pres. Kennedy did the same thing. Why not? Because as those who read Sheldon Stern's book about the role of JFK in the Cuban missile crisis will learn from the transcripts of those tapes, the president was alone among those around him, who consistent;y opposed launching an attack on Cuba. Those advocating such an attack, at one time or another during the crisis, included his brother Bobby, all "the best and the brightest" in his cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What those in the Oval Office and most Americans still don't know was that JFK was secretly communicating with the USSR's Nikita Khruschev through journalist Pierre Salinger to find a mutually agreed solution to the crisis that would overcome push for war of their respective hawks. And so they did.

What wasn't known at the time was that the Russian missile launchers were loaded and ready to fire in the case of an American attack. That would have resulted in a nuclear war war in which much, if not all of humanity would have been wiped out. In other words, were it not for JFK's decision to conduct back channel communications with the Russians we wouldn't be here today. That he did this secretly, without notifying the CIA, in the middle of the Cold War, may have led to him to be killed by those in the CIA who considered him a traitor,. That Stern doesn't agree with that premise and doesn't mention it in his book is beside the point. As the custodian of the JFK Library where the tapes can be heard (as well, with some difficulty, on line) and the transcripts are on file, by producing this book, he had performed an exemplary public service which cannot be said of the mainstream media which largely ignored
Ventelone
This is one of the most remarkable books of all time. Not only does the author show how close to nuclear war the US and Soviet Union were, but through the tapes of almost all the meetings of President Kennedy and his advisors shows that JFK was the only sane one of the bunch and single-handedly prevented an escalation that likely would have triggered a nuclear war.

The reliance of this author on the tapes of the discussions creates an accuracy that is in sharp contrast to all the Camelot mythmakers like Ted Sorenson who survived JFK and sought to burnish their own reputations and that of Robert Kennedy by peddling falsehoods about their own moral stands and caution during the crisis.

Among the authors that Stern's book shows to have been misled is Robert Caro, the most important biographer of Lyndon Johnson. In Caro's recent book, Passage of Power, he repeats the post-hoc stories that are shown to be lies by the Stern book and the Kennedy tapes. On page 221 for example, Caro reports that everyone agreed with Dean Rusk's proposal to resolve the crisis by offering a private trade of Soviet withdrawal of missiles in Cuba in exchange for US removal of missiles in Turkey. Yet the transcripts show that RFK opposed this offer, even after he was forced to make it by his brother. On page 210 Caro portrays RFK as measured, moderate, and someone who was focused on the moral questions at stake. Caro says that RFK was concerned with the moral implications of a strike against Cuba being a Pearl Harbor in reverse. All of this is untrue. RFK (along with Curtis Le May) was the most hawkish of the Presidents advisers; in the beginning, RFK advocated a full scale invasion of Cuba immediately after Joint Chiefs of Staff Maxwell Taylor warned against such an invasion. Even after the President and the majority had agreed on a blockade rather than an invasion or air strike, RFK pressed for an invasion as "the last chance we will have to destroy Castro." RFK carelessly insisted that the Soviet's would not retaliate with nuclear weapons and argued "we should just get into it, and get it over with and take our losses if [Kruschev] wants to get into a war over this...." There is nothing in the tapes of anyone except the President expressly being influenced in choices by civilian casualties. The President acknowledged that the Cuban missiles had no more technical ability to kill Americans than other Soviet missiles placed around the world. RFKs expressed reference to Pearl Harbor was not a moral concern but a concern of how an invasion might be perceived by the rest of the world. Repeatedly, RFK advocated the creation of a false pretext to justify an invasion. In the beginning he advocated using a Berlin crisis as an excuse to invade Cuba. Later, after the embargo had been agreed to, RFK suggested using the Guantanamo base to stage an incident that would be a pretext for invasion, in his words: "You know, sink the Maine again or something.!" As the crisis was close to resolution, RFK lamented: "I'd like to take Cuba back. That would be nice." The central fact that RFK, the President, LBJ and other decision-makers were willing to risk nuclear war and catastrophic civilian losses in efforts to stop the Soviets from protecting their ally Cuba against a US invasion goes unmentioned by Caro. In contrast, the tapes as revealed by Sheldon Stern reveal President Kennedy to be the one exhibiting moral reasoning. The tapes show President Kennedy saying: "It doesn't make any difference if you get blown up by an ICBM flying from the Soviet Union or one that was ninety miles away. Geography doesn't mean that much . . . . After all this is a political struggle as much as military."