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One Minute to Midnight: Book summary and reviews of One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs

One Minute to Midnight

Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

by Michael Dobbs

One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs X
One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs
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About this book

Book Summary

In October 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union appeared to be sliding inexorably toward a nuclear conflict over the placement of missiles in Cuba. Veteran Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs has pored over previously untapped American, Soviet, and Cuban sources to produce the most authoritative book yet on the Cuban missile crisis. In his hour-by-hour chronicle of those near-fatal days, Dobbs reveals some startling new incidents that illustrate how close we came to Armageddon. Here, for the first time, are gripping accounts of Khrushchev’s plan to destroy the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo; the accidental overflight of the Soviet Union by an American spy plane; the movement of Soviet nuclear warheads around Cuba during the tensest days of the crisis; the activities of CIA agents inside Cuba; and the crash landing of an American F-106 jet with a live nuclear weapon on board.

Dobbs takes us inside the White House and the Kremlin as Kennedy and Khrushchev—rational, intelligent men separated by an ocean of ideological suspicion—agonize over the possibility of war. He shows how these two leaders recognized the terrifying realities of the nuclear age while Castro—never swayed by conventional political considerations—demonstrated the messianic ambition of a man selected by history for a unique mission. As the story unfolds, Dobbs brings us onto the decks of American ships patrolling Cuba; inside sweltering Soviet submarines and missile units as they ready their warheads; and onto the streets of Miami, where anti-Castro exiles plot the dictator’s overthrow.

Based on exhaustive new research and told in breathtaking prose, here is a riveting account of history’s most dangerous hours, full of lessons for our time.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In a densely packed, fast-paced, suspenseful narrative, Dobbs presents the crisis from its early stages through the decision to blockade Cuba and Kennedy's ordering of DEFCON 2, the last step before an attack, to the final resolution on October 27 and 28." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. This first-rate book belongs very prominently on the groaning shelf of earlier titles devoted to our first (and let us hope our last) nuclear crisis. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.

"Dobbs's careful narrative supposes no prior knowledge of those long-ago events, making it a welcome introduction to that perilous time." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Dobbs presents new and often startling information that again confirms that the 'thirteen days in October' brought the world to the edge of an unprecedented cataclysm." - Booklist.

"At a time of danger for a nation it is important for political leaders first to think, then to think more and try avoid shooting. This book gives a day by day perspective on how two world leaders, John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, showed their ability to manage a crisis. Thanks to them, humanity survived and we are able to read this book." - Sergei Khrushchev, son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

"Dobbs’s hour-to-hour chronology of those tormenting days when the world stood on the verge of nuclear holocaust is riveting. To enhance his knowledge of these events and installations, he studied the photographs taken during the crisis; Dobbs is the first historian to use these important images." - Dino Brugioni, author of Eyeball to Eyeball.

This information about One Minute to Midnight 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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