Both these books were published for the 30th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis. Nathan's distinguished contributors, in reviewing what has been learned recently in Soviet-American-Cuban discussions of the crisis, hardly diminish the foreboding of those October days. Quite the contrary: Moscow's willingness to run risks on behalf of its Cuban ally, more than was imagined at the time, is reminiscent of America's actions on behalf of its allies; and, unbeknownst to Americans at the time, tactical Soviet nuclear missiles were operational, apparently available for use against a U.S. invasion at the discretion of the local Soviet commander. The cia documents are a welcome first installment of former cia director Robert Gates' openness initiative; perhaps these and successor volumes can push the Foreign Relations of the United States series to catch diplomatic history up to intelligence.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.