Gambling with Armageddon

By Martin J. Sherwin,

Book cover of Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis

Book description

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus comes the first effort to set the Cuban Missile Crisis, with its potential for nuclear holocaust, in a wider historical narrative of the Cold War—how such a crisis arose, and why at the very last possible moment it didn't happen.

In this…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Gambling with Armageddon as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I was privileged to know Marty Sherwin in person. He was the friendliest person ever with a tremendous sense of humour – and a magnificent, honest scholar.

He was the friendliest person ever with a tremendous sense of humour – and a magnificent, honest scholar. History, as Paul Ricoeur has reminded, is not a record to be played. The Cold War nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, and mainly, the Cuban missile crisis did not have to end as they did, peacefully.

When two A bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945, a genie was released…

From László's list on the search for truth in history.

This book reveals the secrets of the 1962 Cuba missiles crisis when America discovered that the Soviet Union has installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy imposed a siege on Cuba. The American military and the CIA were eager to launch a nuclear war against Cuba, but neither Kennedy nor Gorbachev, the Soviet leader wanted to start a war. Kennedy and Gorbachev exchanged letters, Gorbachev made his letters public, Kennedy kept his secret. Gorbachev asked for an American commitment not to invade Cuba and to remove its missiles from Turkey. Kennedy asked Dean Rusk to indirectly suggest to UN Secretary…

This book is the culmination of the late Professor Sherwin’s lifetime legacy of scholarship on the development, use against Japan in August 1945, and subsequent proliferation of nuclear weapons. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for an authoritative biography of Robert Oppenheimer, Sherwin deftly reconstructs the thinking, expectations, miscalculations, and blunders of policy makers and politicians from the end of World War II to the Cuban missile crisis. He also warns that the continued presence of nuclear arms in the post-Cold War world presents even greater dangers (such as acquisition by terrorists). Sherwin recalls former secretary of state Dean Acheson’s conclusion…

From Sheldon's list on Cuban Missile Crisis.

A noted historian gives us a gripping hour-by-hour account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, including a variety of terrifying details that have largely been suppressed until now. We get to meet several unsung heroes, American and Soviet, who may well have literally saved the world, and also to understand how unbelievably dangerous and downright bullheadedly stupid was much (indeed, most!) of the “advice” given to JFK during that time. It’s a crucially needed cautionary tale.

From David's list on preventing nuclear war.

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