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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The United States and the Soviet Union stood eyeball to eyeball, each brandishing enough nuclear weapons to obliterate each other's civilization. It was one of the most dangerous moments in world history. Day by day, for two weeks, an executive committee formed around elements of President Kennedy's National Security Council debated what to do, twice coming to the brink of ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published January 28th 2002 by Belknap Press (first published January 1st 1997)
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Peregrine 12
Dec 24, 2010 Peregrine 12 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
If you thought America acted alone and independently of every other nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, you might be surprised by what's in this book. I had no idea how complex, or intricate, or political, the decisions were that led up to, and through, this event. I'd always heard my parents commenting on how 'close' we came to was with Russia - a nuclear war - but until I read this, I never really understood that they weren't being dramatic. It really almost did happen. It frightens me to ...more
Peter Tutak
Mar 02, 2016 Peter Tutak rated it it was amazing

The reader becomes a fly on the wall for all the recorded discussions between President Kennedy, Secretaries of State and Defense Dean Rusk and John McNamara, Robert Kennedy, and the rest of the president's security staff regarding the discovery of the offensive missile buildup in Cuba, the subsequent crisis, and the eventual resolution. All conversations are verbatim, transcribed off the tape, and the president even drops the 'f-bomb' once. That aside, this is pretty riveting stuff, and is an i
Colin McKell-Redwood
Aug 14, 2014 Colin McKell-Redwood rated it it was amazing
Completely compelling, and terrifying how close we were to WW3. I loved reading the actual advice given... Military men all around itching to play with their toys, Kennedy in the middle. A bit like the Day of The Jackal, in that you know what the end result was but it is still a great great read - recommended
Mel [profile closed]
Sep 27, 2009 Mel [profile closed] rated it really liked it
Those who are enamored with Kennedy will read the tapes and see his strength, and those who think he was weak and only idolized because of his death will find fodder here. The tapes are striking whichever camp you're in.
Feb 04, 2013 Stacey rated it really liked it
If you've ever wanted to be a fly on the wall of the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, this is your book. At times fascinating; at other times, dry and tedious; this is an unprecedented view of the crisis and the Kennedy administration.
Patrick Nichol
Jul 30, 2011 Patrick Nichol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You are in the Oval Office as Kennedy and his advisers struggle to avoid nuclear combat "toe to toe with the Russkies."
Robert Morrow
One of my favorite topics and one of my favorite books. Reading the actual dialogue is so deeply helpful in understanding the dynamics of the event.
Aug 14, 2012 Gwen rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I recall this was equally fascinating and the driest, most boring thing I have ever read in my life. That's quite an impressive achievement, and one I felt worth noting.
Rob Cohen
A fascinating read-- a little bit overkill; it got a little unwieldy trying to keep everyone straight- all in all an intersting insight into how the government works.
Nov 25, 2008 MJ rated it really liked it
The Missile Crisis direct from those who led us through it...really interesting to see how Kennedy's and his staff's minds worked.
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Shelves: kennedys
very good
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Ernest Richard May was an American historian of international relations whose 14 published books include analyses of American involvement in World War I and the causes of the fall of France during World War II. His 1997 book The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis became the primary sources of the 2000 film Thirteen Days that viewed the crisis from the perspective ...more
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