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Publisher's Summary

In October 1962, when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over its installation of missiles in Cuba, few people shared the behind-the-scenes story as it is told here by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In this unique account, he describes the hour-by-hour negotiations, with particular attention to the actions and views of his brother, President John F. Kennedy.

In a foreword to this edition, the distinguished historian and Kennedy adviser Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., discusses the book's enduring importance and the significance of new information about the crisis that has come to light from the former Soviet Union.

©1971, 1969 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., Copyright 1968 by McCall Corporation (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A minor classic in its laconic, spare, compelling evocation by a participant of the shifting moods and maneuvers of the most dangerous moment in human history." (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chad
  • United States
  • 07-04-13

Poor narration

What didn’t you like about Kurt Elftmann’s performance?

Monotone and devoid of emotion. About as exciting if he had been reading stock prices. Hard to stay focused on the story because narration was so boring.

Any additional comments?

I loved the movie but will have to read the printed book to fairly judge this one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • San Jose, CA United States
  • 08-06-15

An good inside look

I saw the film adaptation long before I read the book. The book is interesting but I'm suspicious to a degree since "Bobbie" is a central character, and the main character is his own brother. However, given whatever flaws it may have based on those relationships, it is still an important story of one of the most frightening events of the 20th Century. RFK's original work is quite brief, but the supplementary notes are as interesting and as important as the main work. It's is interesting to note the impact of a single book, Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August had on the President, and the results that had for the outcome of the crisis. The whole approach used by the President is useful in ways far beyond nuclear diplomacy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Historical Terror

Historical Terror at a time when there was so much unknown. This gives a good look at what else was going on from a Soviet perspective. I didn't know we had missiles right outside their back door. No wonder they wanted to place them outside our back door. Once again, the United States won the gamble.

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  • Lindsay
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 10-05-18

Great story, terrible narrator

Fascinating read that sheds insight into an important event in our history. To be honest, the book is a bit dry, but the material is still interesting. Also makes me wonder how much of this is a biased summary, given that JFK's brother wrote the book. All that aside, worthwhile read. Sort of makes you look at global politics a little differently.

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Exceptional look at near world annihilation

It brought back vivid memories of living in a home of 7 children and parents who were essentially dealing with the fear of total world destruction.