Cuban Missile Crisis

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Brenner, Philip. "Cuba and the Missile Crisis." Journal of Latin American Studies 22, no. 1 (Feb. 1990): 115-142.

Brugioni, Dino A. Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Random House, 1991.

Clark comment: This is a truly marvelous piece of work in terms of its explanation of the integration of a specific form of intelligence -- imagery -- into the decisionmaking process. It is a tale told by someone who was in a position to know what was going on "in the trenches" and who has spent considerable time and thought in the intervening years coming to terms with the place of his and others' efforts in one of the defining moments of the nuclear age. While we are unlikely to see a better intelligence-oriented study of the Cuban Missile Crisis than Brugioni's, I recommend that a reader coming to the crisis for the first time and without a strong policy background consider reading Allison's Essence of Decision along with Eyeball to Eyeball.

Chambers calls Eyeball to Eyeball "a terrific account from an insider at the NPIC," while Allen, DIJ 1.2, says the work is a "monumental accomplishment and ... a first-rate contribution." According to Knoche, IJI&C 5.4, Brugioni provides "new dimensions and insights." The book's "strength ... is its description of the crucial role played by American intelligence in its illumination of the gathering threat." This is a "marvelous piece of research" and "a seminal work." Surveillant 2.2 sees the book as the "ultimate insiders high-tech view of the Cuban Missile Crisis.... All the excitement of a four-star movie."

In a more critical vein, Sheinin, I&NS 9.1, comments that the author's "confidence in the significance of the spy data he helped to develop is overstated.... In spite of the range of technical and evidence data supplied, the author is telling no secrets." In an article in NIPQ 8.4, Hal Feeney, CDR/USN (Ret.) -- who was Chief, Cuba Branch, DIA Estimates, in 1962 -- argues that while Brugioni's work is "the definitive work" on the Cuban Missile Crisis, his broader political analysis is flawed by "his general adulation of President Kennedy."

Bates, NIPQ 14.2, notes in retrospect that Brugioni clearly had access to the tapes from the recording system President Kennedy installed in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room in the Summer of 1962. Therefore, the previously troublesome quotation marks around conversations to which Brugioni could not have been privy are not so troublesome after all.

Brugioni, Dino. "The Invasion of Cuba." MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 4, no. 2 (Winter 1992): 92-101.

This article is adapted from Brugioni's Eyeball to Eyeball. The focus is on the mobilization that took place in October 1962 for a possible invasion of Cuba.

Brune, Lester H. The Missile Crisis of October 1962: A Review of Issues and References. Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 1985.

Bundy, McGeorge, transcriber. Ed., James G. Blight. "October 27, 1962: Transcripts of the Meeting of the ExComm." International Security 12, no. 3 (Winter 1987/88): 30-92.

Caldwell, Dan.

1. "Cuban Missile Affair and the American Style of Crisis Management." Parameters 19 (Apr. 1989): 170-188.

2. ed. "Department of Defense Operations During the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Report by Adam Yarmolinsky, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, 13 February 1963." Naval War College Review 32 (Jul.-Aug. 1979): 83-99.

Chang, Laurence, and Peter Kornbluh, eds. The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. A National Security Archive Documents Reader. New York: The New Press, 1992.

Surveillant 3.1 identifies this as a "collection of formerly secret documents" that is "more document reproduction ... than text." According to FILS 11.6, there are some CIA documents here, but the "lion's share are of Department of State, White House, and Defense Department origin." See Chang, et. al., eds., The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: Guide and Index, 2 vols. (Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck- Healey, 1990). See also McAuliffe, ed., CIA Documents (1992).

Christol, C.Q., and C.R. Davis. "Maritime Quarantine: The Naval Interdiction of Offensive Weapons and Associated Material to Cuba, 1962." American Journal of International Law 57 (Jul. 1963): 525-545. [Petersen]

Clift, A. Denis. "Ringside at the Missile Crisis." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 138, no. 10 (Oct. 2012): 56-62.

The author draws on former CNO Adm. George W. Anderson's oral memoirs for some thoughts about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Cline, Ray S. "The Cuban Missile Crisis." Foreign Affairs 68, no. 4 (Fall 1989): 190-196.

Cogan, Charles G. "Intelligence and Crisis Management: The Importance of the Pre-Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1994): 633-650.

According to Cogan, "[i]t is noteworthy that the intelligence mechanism generally functions better after a crisis erupts. It is in the area of anticipating crises that the intelligence community is often found wanting." (Italics in original) The author illustrates his point with the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Yom Kippur War (1973), and the Gulf War (1990-1991). Cogan points to the institution of the Deputies Committee in the Bush administration as an approach to solving the policy approach to crises, but notes that there is no "institution for anticipating crises over the long term at the political level in Washington." (Emphasis added)

Coleman, David. The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 2012.

For Coffey, Studies 57.2 (Jun. 2013), although there is "something picked over about the topic," the author "does a nice job of cataloging the weaponry Kennedy wanted to open up to scrutiny and the means available to monitor their withdrawal." However, his "excessive coverage" of the "atmosphere in which Kennedy operated -- including an aggressive press..., a State Department without direction, and a condescending and trigger-happy military" -- "distracts from the main story of disarmament."

Crane, Robert D. "The Cuban Crisis: A Strategic Analysis of American and Soviet Policy." Orbis 6 (Winter 1963): 528-563.

Daniel, James, and John G. Hubbell. Strike in the West: The Complete Story of the Cuban Crisis. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1963.

Divine, The Cuban Missile Crisis (1988), p. 92, refers to this work as a "right-wing criticism of [President] Kennedy's handling of the crisis."

Detzer, David. The Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. New York: Crowell, 1979.

Dinerstein, Herbert S. The Making of a Missile Crisis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.

For Gilpin, FA (Jul. 1976), the author "proves once again that a fresh approach can draw new and important insights from an already well-examined historical episode." Lambeth, RAND Paper (1976), says "[t]his book illuminates the relationship between Moscow's Cuban policy and the ultimate Soviet missile decision, offers new insights into the timing of the decision, and speculates about possible Soviet internal infighting over strategies once the venture broke into confrontation."

Divine, Robert A., ed. The Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Quadrangle, 1988.

Dobbs, Michael. "Into Thin Air." Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2003, W14. [http://www.]

The author explores the U-2 flights over Cuba in 1962 from the point of view of the pilot who died in that effort, Maj. Rudolf Anderson, and the other pilots who did not.

Dobbs, Michael. One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War. New York: Knopf, 2008.

Hershberg, Washington Post, 22 Jun. 2008, believes that the author "succeeds brilliantly, marshaling diverse sources to relate an intensely human story.... Dobbs's vivid narrative brings the crisis alive not only in the rarefied inner sancta of politicians, bureaucrats and revolutionaries in Washington, Moscow and Havana but also among the grunts in the superpowers' vast, unwieldy military machines." However, the work does contain "its share of (mostly trivial) errors or omissions."

For Holbrooke, New York Times, 22 Jun. 2008, this book contains "sobering new information about the world's only superpower nuclear confrontation." The author "is at his best in reconstructing the near misses, misunderstandings and unauthorized activities that could have led to an accidental war." The book is filled with "insights that will change the views of experts and help inform a new generation of readers."

Peake, Studies 52.4 (Dec. 2008) and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), finds that "[p]erhaps the best part of the book is the chronological depiction of tension and frustration." This work "gives a balanced, detailed, sensitive account that is great reading." To Stavridis, Proceedings 135.3 (Mar. 2009), this "instant classic ... provides the best single-volume treatment in print of the events leading up to the crisis, as well as its resolution.

Placing Dobbs's work within a wider review of Cuba under Fidel Castro, Abedul and Hughes, I&NS 26.4 (Aug. 2011), see the author bringing "a seasoned journalist's racy style as well as a great deal of important new information" to the discussion of the Missile Crisis. The reviewers are less pleased with Dobbs's praise of the handling of the crisis by Kennedy and Khrushchev.

Ecker, William B. [CAPT/USN (Ret.)], and Kenneth V. Jack. Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance During the Cuban Missile Crisis. Botley, UK: Osprey, 2012.

Healy, NIPQ 29.1 (Jan. 2013), says this "book is an enjoyable and easy read and at times becomes a real page turner" as it recounts the low-level reconnaissance flights of the Navy's VFP-62 squadron. It "includes an easy to understand mix of technical details which adds a good balance for those interested in that aspect."

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