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Thirteen Days by RFK

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:08 pm

I read RFK’s[1] Thirteen Days today [2].

This is RFK’s memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Note: that’s different than the Bay of Pigs.) Basically the USSR put nuclear-equipped missiles in Cuba while publicly claiming they weren’t. There was a period of thirteen days between when the intelligence regarding the presence of missiles and the Soviet’s agreement to withdraw them. People often say this is the closest the world came to nuclear war (so far).

It’s pretty dryly written, but still very interesting. There’s something really fascinating about how people act and react under intense pressure and stress. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there was a happy ending.

One thing that I found pretty interesting was the role the Guns of August played in the whole situation. It’s a book about the time and decisions leading up to World War I. Apparently JFK and other took this book under special consideration in how they made their decisions regarding the Cuban situation. Imagine how cool it would be to be Barbara Tuchman–you would have helped prevent nuclear war. Not a bad thing to put on a gravestone.

[1] The more I read about RFK, the more I like. There’s something about his radical Catholicism that makes me think that if I was a more charismatic and better person I could be like him. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had he not been assassinated.

[2] Yeah, I read the entire thing today. Granted, it clocks in at 100 pages including forward, but it felt good to read a whole book in a day. It don’t do that much. The last time I did it was the Perks of Being a Wallflower (and the one previous to that was my second reading of Ender’s Game).

One Response to “Thirteen Days by RFK”

  1. mummy Says:

    I knew the other one would have been “Ender’s Game” you loved that book…

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