Cuban Missile Crisis


Feeney, Hal [CDR/USN (Ret.)]. "Eyeball to Eyeball: My View." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 8, no. 4 (Fall 1992): 16-18.

Feeney argues that while Brugioni's work is "the definitive work" on the Cuban Missile Crisis, Brugioni's broader political analysis is flawed by "his general adulation of President Kennedy."

Feklisov, Alexandre. Confession d'un Agent Soviétique. Paris: Éditions du Rocher, 1999. Feklisov, Alexander, and Sergei Kostin. Intro, Ronald Radosh. Tr., Catherine Dop. The Man Behind the Rosenbergs: Memoirs of the KGB Spymaster Who Also Controlled Klaus Fuchs and Helped Resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Enigma, 2001.

Feklisov died on 26 October 2007. Martin Weil, "Alexander Feklisov, 93; Key Soviet Spy in U.S.," Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2007.

Commenting on the French-language edition, Kiracofe, AFIO WIN 24-99 (18 Jun. 1999) and Intelligencer 10.2, notes that Feklisov served as the case officer for both Julius Rosenberg (1943-1946) and Klaus Fuchs (1947-1949). The author "reveals significant details concerning his long career in Soviet intelligence, including a definitive presentation of the Rosenberg case.... There are also accounts of the successful exfiltration to the Soviet Union of Rosenberg colleagues Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant." Feklisov "includes much interesting commentary" about the Fuchs case. According to the reviewer, the author's "comments on his behind-the-scenes contacts, via John Scali, with the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis are particularly interesting."

Haynes, I&NS 17.3, finds that, with regard to the Rosenbergs, Feklisov "corroborates, fills in gaps, or fleshes out the story told in Radosh and Milton's The Rosenberg File." Feklisov is, however, "detailed and candid only in regard to Julius Rosenberg and the impressively large network of Communist engineers that Rosenberg brought into espionage. He describes other sources and agents, but in vague terms." For Unsinger, IJI&C16.3, Radosh's introduction is "an interesting critique of Feklisov's revelations." However, Radosh "gives the impression that the entire book was about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, but it is about far more than them alone."

See also, Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel, "Retired KGB Spymaster Lifts Veil on Rosenbergs," Washington Times, 19 Mar. 1997, A1, A6.

Fischer, Beth A. "Perception, Intelligence Errors, and the Cuban Missile Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 3 (Autumn 1998): 150-172.

"[T]he accuracy and usefulness of intelligence can only be improved so far. Cognitive and motivational psychology helps us see that there is a performance limit to intelligence assessment. Misperceptions that result from perfectly normal cognitive processes and psychological needs are, for analysts and policy makers alike, a professional hazard."

Frankel, Max.

1. High Noon in the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Ballantine, 2004.

Holbrooke, NYT, 15 Oct. 2004, finds that "[f]or those too young to remember the only direct nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union," the author's "short and graceful account" of the Cuban Missile Crisis "is an excellent introduction to a vital part of our recent past. For those already steeped in missile crisis lore, Mr. Frankel offers new insights based on his personal memories and newly available archives."

To Nigro, Parameters 35.3 (Autumn 2005), the author "tells the story of the 14-day crisis clearly and concisely.... [He also] does a good job of setting the crisis within its broader diplomatic context.... Unfortunately, after giving us an able narrative of the affair, Frankel comes to the surprising and unorthodox conclusion that the crisis was never really all that close to resulting in nuclear war between the rival superpowers."

2. "Learning from the Missile Crisis: What Really Happened on Those Thirteen Fateful Days in October." Smithsonian 33, no. 7 (Oct. 2002): 52-64.

"In hindsight, I think two common views need correction. It is clear now that Nikita Khrushchev provoked America not from a position of strength, as Kennedy first feared, but from a chronic sense of weakness and frustration. And it is also clear from the historical record that the two superpowers were never as close to nuclear war as they urgently insisted in public."

Fursenko, Alexander, and Timothy Naftali.

1. "Soviet Intelligence and the Cuban Missile Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 3 (Autumn 1998): 64-87.

"Soviet intelligence contributed to the disappointments of 1962.... [Both the KGB and GRU] failed to provide the Kremlin with sufficient warning of President John F. Kennedy's intentions toward Cuba in the months preceding October 1962. Later, during the missile crisis itself, Soviet intelligence proved incapable of providing precise reports of the activities of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm)."

2. One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1958-1964. New York: Norton, 1997.

Szulc, Washington Post Book Week, 29 Jun. 1997, and Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 14 Jul. 1997, faults the authors for failing "to make some sense of the extraordinary materials they have secured from Soviet archives." Fursenko and Naftali "demonstrate an appalling ignorance of the Cuban revolutionary process, and this, in turn, distorts their narration of the 1962 events." However, "One Hell of a Gamble is a useful study in that it reveals the enormous dangers of basing policies on wishful thinking and of profoundly misunderstanding other cultures and other intelligence systems."

For Bates, NIPQ 14.2, One Hell of a Gamble is "a fascinating revelation [of] what the adversaries in Moscow, Washington, and Havana knew and when they knew it." Miner, FA 76.4, views this work as "perhaps the most comprehensive narrative of the perilous moment yet to appear.... One of the study's more significant findings concerns the limitations of intelligence" -- on both sides.

Chapman, IJI&C 11.2, is not totally enthralled with One Hell of a Gamble. For him, the book's "treatment of the Cuban revolution and the Bay of Pigs leaves much to be desired, and sorely disappoints. The research done by the authors appears to be a rehash of the fancied fiction we've been reading for the past forty years." The reviewer notes that the book "covers the Cuban missile crisis in detail, presenting lots of new, interesting information." Nevertheless, the "presumption should be that there is a slant to the Soviet archives, much as would be expected of anything coming out of Whitehall or the White House." Chapman finds that the authors' resurrection of a right-wing plot by Texas oilmen to kill President Kennedy only serves to "seriously weaken[] an otherwise most useful book."

To Powers, London Review of Books (13 Nov. 1997) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 171-184, this work "is an unusually comprehensive and rich account of the inner workings of the Soviet government during a moment of crisis."

3. "Using KGB Documents: The Scali-Feklisov Channel in the Cuban Missile Crisis." Cold War International History Project Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995): 58-62.

"The KGB documents substantiate claims that for the Kremlin the Scali-Feklisov [alias Fomin] meetings were a sideshow that played no part in the U.S.-Soviet endgame of October 26-28 [1962]."

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