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"One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964
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"One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  211 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
No other book offers this inside look at the strategies of the Soviet leadership. John F. Kennedy did not live to write his memoirs; Fidel Castro will not reveal what he knows; and the records of the Soviet Union have long been sealed from public view: Of the most frightening episode of the Cold War--the Cuban Missile Crisis--we have had an incomplete picture. When did Cas ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published August 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton Company (first published August 1981)
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Jan-Maat
Written in 1997 the book was the fruit of co-operation of an American and a Russian historian and the product of research in the archives of both countries. As a result this narrative provides insight in the thinking and fears of both sides as the crisis develops out of the strategic possibilities arising from Castro's success in Cuba. It is a fairly lively tale starting with the Castros coming to power, the Kennedy election and the bay of pigs, ending with the fall of Khrushchev, the focus is o ...more
Joshua Degraff
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is it. If you wished to dive into the Cuban Missile Crisis then you have found your starting point. Both American and Russian archives lend this work an unprecedented amount of detail. One small caveat: I wish the Cuban side of the crisis was fleshed out further following the decision to send nuclear weapons to the island. But Fursenko and Naftali did not have such clearance with the Cubans so they can hardly be blamed. Despite such detail, One Hell of a Gamble does not plod along. It is a ...more
Meg G
Oct 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was an interesting approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis. While it did an excellent job of portraying events in Moscow and Washington, D.C. I found the portrayal of Fidel Castro as overly simplistic. The approach taken casts Fidel as a prisoner of his own thought, indecisive, and an incapable leader as he forged a path to communism in Cuba in the early 1960s.
Shelly
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gained a lot more respect for Castro and insight on a behind the scene read on the Cuban Missile Crisis
Courtney
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-own
This book is incredibly dense, but so well researched and thoughtfully organized. Context is brought to so many of the decisions made at the time and so many primary resources were used. This is THE book to read if you're interested in understanding the Cuban Missile Crisis.
John Fahey
fascinating and informative.
Bill Manzi
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another book on the Cuban Missile Crisis might seem to be overkill, but Fursenko and Naftali, the Russian and American co-authors, have delivered a terrific book that relies on newly accessible Soviet archives, and expands the period covered so we have a fuller understanding of what brought on the crisis. We have a good look at the inception of the Castro regime, with the book providing some interesting detail on the initial politics involved inside Cuba. The broader reach of the book presents u ...more
John Melvin
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique

Unique information and points of view overcome a slightly awkward prose style and set it apart from most accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Işıl
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is pretty much what one should read if he ever wants to dive into the Cuban Missile Crisis and the American-Soviet Relations in general, and the fact that it is the result of a collaboration of a Russian and an American author makes it more reliable with regard to its way of depicting history.

I read this book on recommendation - a book that I probably could not have found on my own, and it reads like - dare I say it? - a novel. You got the avid actors - Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro

...more
Daniel Esquivel
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, really gives a good perspective on the whole situation, and even hints on JFK's enemies and potential conspirators at the end of the book. If you think about it the Russians simply reciprocated on what the US did placing nukes in Turkey, kind of Russia's backyard. Very interesting. We were VERY close to the end.
Joe
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A very descriptive account of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though at times I felt like I was drowning in useless information, a lot of the information is relevant and new.
Kristen
I don't usually like to read about history but this was really intriguing! I think it was enlightening for me to hear an inside account of how Kennedy handled this crisis as a young, new president.
Dana
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Pretty exciting for a history book, you almost forget that you know the outcome.
Max Price
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this as a textbook for a history class at Pacific University, and it got me hooked on the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's well-written, and the content is amazingly thorough.
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