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The Abyss: Book summary and reviews of The Abyss by Max Hastings

The Abyss

Nuclear Crisis Cuba 1962

by Max Hastings

The Abyss by Max Hastings X
The Abyss by Max Hastings
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About this book

Book Summary

Bestselling author Max Hastings offers a welcome reevaluation of one of the most gripping and tense international events in modern history - the Cuban Missile Crisis - providing a people-focused narrative that explores the attitudes and conduct of Russians, Cubans, Americans, and a terrified world that followed each moment as it unfolded.

In The Abyss, Max Hastings turns his focus to one of the most terrifying events of the mid-twentieth century—the thirteen days in October 1962 when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. Hastings looks at the conflict with fresh eyes, focusing on the people at the heart of the crisis—America President John F. Kennedy, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, and a host of their advisors.

Combining in-depth research with Hasting's well-honed insights, The Abyss is a human history that unfolds on a wide, colorful canvas. As the action moves back and forth from Moscow to Washington, DC, to Havana, Hastings seeks to explain, as much as to describe, the attitudes and conduct of the Soviets, Cubans, and Americans, and to recreate the tension and heightened fears of countless innocent bystanders whose lives hung in the balance. Reflecting on the outcome of these events, he reveals how the aftermath of this momentous crisis continues to reverberate today.

Powerful, and riveting, filled with compelling detail and told with narrative flair, The Abyss is history at its finest.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Hastings highlights in this engrossing account just how close the U.S. and the Soviet Union came to nuclear war in October 1962...Flashes of color enliven sober warnings about the need for world leaders who can sift through multiple sources of information and back down from a fight when the cost is too great. This riveting history speaks clearly to the present moment." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"One of the greatest living historians tackles the Cuban missile crisis...painfully insightful...The definitive account of a brief yet frightening period in global history." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[N]otable historian Hastings provides a narrative more coherent than would have been experienced by the principals, emphasizing how limited information could have led to disaster...Replete with astute characterizations of participants in the crisis, Hastings' able account registers the peril humanity then faced and still faces in a world of competitive, nuclear-armed countries." - Booklist

"Hastings...masterfully places the Cuban Missile Crisis within the tensions and relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in their Cold War context. The tense and suspenseful atmosphere interweaving the negotiations and political developments...are palpable in this elegantly written account. The personalities of all major players...are all fully realized in this book...Based on extensive archival research, including in the UK, this eminently readable account provides a nice, single volume overview of the Cuban Missile Crisis." - Library Journal

This information about The Abyss was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Max Hastings Author Biography

Sir Max Hastings is an author, journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in every British national newspaper. He is now a columnist for The Times of London and for Bloomberg and reviews regularly for the Sunday Times. He has published twenty-nine books, among the most recent of which are Vietnam: An Epic History of a Tragic War (2018); The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-45 (2015); Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 (2013); All Hell Let Loose (2011); Did You Really Shoot the Television?: A Family Fable (2010); Finest Years: Churchill As Warlord 1940-45 (2009); and Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45 (2004). He has also published three collections of writing about the British countryside and field sports. The son and grandson of writers, he was educated at ...

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