The Shattered Crystal Ball: Fear And Learning In The Cuban Missile Crisis

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The Shattered Crystal Ball: Fear And Learning In The Cuban Missile Crisis

By James G. Blight
Rowman & Littlefield, 1990
199 pp. $33.50
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One's first instinct on seeing yet another analysis of the Cuban missile crisis is to groan. But this study is original and important because it addresses the question of how the imminent possibility of the nuclear death of tens of millions affected the thinking of those whose miscalculations could make real the awful chance. The author brings a deep knowledge of the documentary and oral history record, psychology, philosophy, and even poetry to bear on the answer: the recognition and fear of mass nuclear death induced a special kind of prudence that transcended the conventional calculations of power and national advantage.

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