The Cuban Missile Crisis : A Critical Reappraisal book cover
1st Edition

The Cuban Missile Crisis
A Critical Reappraisal

ISBN 9780415787161
Published November 7, 2016 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

This volume brings together a collection of leading international experts to revisit and review our understanding of the Cuban Missile Crisis, via a critical reappraisal of some of the key texts.

In October 1962, humankind came close to the end of its history. The risk of catastrophe is now recognised by many to have been greater than realised by protagonists at the time or scholars subsequently. The Cuban missile crisis remains one of the mostly intensely studied moments of world history. Understanding is framed and informed by Cold War historiography, political science and personal experience, written by scholars, journalists, and surviving officials. The emergence of Soviet (later Russian) and other national narratives has broadened the scope of enquiry, while scrutiny of the operational, especially military, dimensions has challenged assumptions about the risk of nuclear war.

The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Critical Reappraisal brings together world leading scholars from America, Britain, France, Canada, and Russia to present critical scrutiny of authoritative accounts and to recast assumptions and interpretations. The book aims to provide an essential guide for students of the missile crisis, the diplomacy of the Cold War, and the dynamics of historical interpretation and reinterpretation. Offering original ideas and agendas, the contributors seek to provide a new understanding of the secrets and mysteries of the moment when the world went to the brink of Armageddon.

This book will be of great interest to students of the Cuban missile crisis, Cold War Studies, nuclear proliferation, international history and International Relations in general.

Table of Contents

1. The Cuban missile crisis: what can we know, why did it start, how did it end? Robert Jervis 2. Examining The Fourteenth Day: studying the neglected aftermath period of the October Cuban missile crisis, and underscoring missed analytical opportunities Barton Bernstein 3. Prime Minister and President: Harold Macmillan’s accounts of the Cuban missile crisis, Peter Catterall 4. Reform or revolution? Scott Sagan’s Limits of Safety and its contemporary implications Campbell Craig 5. The ‘Best and the Brightest’: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy administration and the lessons of history R. Gerald Hughes 6. The three puzzles: Essence of Decision and the missile crisis Don Munton 7. We all lost the ‘Cuban missile crisis’: revisiting Richard Ned Lebow and Janice Gross Stein’s landmark analysis in We All Lost the Cold War Benoît Pelopidas 8. On hedgehogs and passions: history, hearsay, and hotchpotch in the writing of the Cuban missile crisis Sergey Radchenko 9. Beyond the smoke and mirrors: the real JFK White House Cuban missile crisis, Sheldon M. Stern 10. ‘The only thing to look forward to’s the past’: reflection, revision and reinterpreting reinterpretation Len Scott

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Len Scott is Professor of International History and Intelligence Studies at Aberystwyth University. He is author of The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Threat of Nuclear War (2007) and Macmillan, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1999), and co-editor of An International History of the Cuban Missile Crisis: A 50-year Retrospective(London: Routledge, 2014).

R. Gerald Hughes is Director of the Centre for Intelligence and International Security Studies (CIISS) at Aberystwyth University. He is the author of Britain, Germany and the Cold War: The Search for a European Détente, 1949-1967 (Routledge 2007) and the co-editor of three books.


This volume reevaluates previous interpretations of the Cuban missile crisis in light of new evidence pertaining to the crisis itself and changing views on the nature of the Cold War. Recommended. A useful reference tool for specialists and graduate students. --L. M. Lees, Old Dominion University CHOICE