The Kennedys and Cuba: The Declassified Documentary History

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9781566632652: The Kennedys and Cuba: The Declassified Documentary History
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In this intriguing collection of documents, drawn from the State Department, the Kennedy Library, private papers, and the Assassination Records Review Board, and including newly released materials, Mark White traces the attitudes and actions of the Kennedys in their fateful obsession with Castro and Cuba. Full of fascinating information. —Mary Carroll, Booklist

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Review:

Kennedy inherited a diplomatic nightmare: Castro's revolution of 1959 that had established a communist government 90 miles from America's shores. Three years later, Russia's decision to deploy nuclear weapons in Cuba triggered the most dangerous episode of the cold war. How John and his brother Robert handled America's prolonged confrontation with Cuba--the Bay of Pigs fiasco, "Operation Mongoose" (a program designed to provoke an anti-Castro uprising), and the Cuban missile crisis--is of supreme diplomatic and historical importance. Mark White of the University of London creates a narrative of the period through official documents that include letters, memoranda, telegrams, radio and television speeches by JFK to the American people, CIA papers, and cabinet notes, much of the material recently released. Policies take shape and personalities emerge as the story unfolds. The contradictions between JFK's public announcements and his private discussions with intimates are particularly striking. At the time, JFK was praised for his handling of the missile crisis; later, doubts arose. In his introduction, White expresses disappointment with "the myopia of the Kennedy team, their almost total inability to consider how their anti-Castro policies would be interpreted by Havana and Moscow, and how those governments might respond." Nevertheless, he allows the record to speak for itself, inviting readers to make their own interpretations. The Kennedys and Cuba provides invaluable raw material for students of America's foreign policy during the cold war and is a fascinating, sometimes chilling, inside view of how closely the world came to nuclear war. --John Stevenson

About the Author:

Mark J. White teaches American history at Eastern Illinois University. He is the author of Missiles in Cuba and other studies in American diplomatic history.

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