The Cuban Missile Crisis: Background information when reading Life

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An Exploded Diagram

by Mal Peet

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  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 416 pages
    Feb 2013, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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Beyond the Book:
The Cuban Missile Crisis

For thirteen days in October 1962, the world was on the brink of nuclear war. U.S. spy planes had detected what appeared to be nuclear missile sites being built on the island of Cuba, just ninety miles off the coast of Florida. Soviet ships, originally designed to carry cargo such as lumber or food, had been outfitted to transport nuclear warheads to their ally in the Caribbean.

John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev President John F. Kennedy was caught between two groups of advisers: the Hawks, who advocated making an immediate and aggressive strike against Cuba, and the Doves, who recommended taking a less antagonistic approach. Kennedy, who was younger and less experienced than his senior advisers, chose an unpopular plan: to set up a blockade, or "quarantine," around Cuba to prevent the Soviets from importing additional nuclear weapons to the island. But how would Cuban president Fidel Castro and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev respond to this tactic? No one knew, and for days people worldwide braced ...

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