Jonathan Haslam

A Foolish Gesture to Boys in Short Trousers

‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro, Kennedy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1958–1964

By Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali

John Murray 420pp £25 order from our bookshop

In October 1962, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world the closest it has ever come to all-out thermo nuclear war. ‘I don’t think we expected that he would put the missiles in Cuba,’ President John F Kennedy said, ‘because it would have seemed such an imprudent action for him to take.’ A veritable flood of information about the crisis has cascaded onto us in recent years, from the Russians, the Americans, even the Cubans. And everything points to the conclusion that our anxieties at the time were neither misplaced nor exaggerated. This book is no exception. But it in no way clarifies Nikita Khrushchev’s motives for putting the missiles in Cuba.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Weekend read 1: Elizabeth Drayson charts 'The Moor's Last Stand' in her book on Spain's religious past ,
    • Andrew Irwin examines the language and structure of Reservoir 13, a 'portrait of a whole village' by Jon McGregor ,
    • David Jacques's Garden of Court and Country: English Design 1630-1730, reviewed by Tim Richardson ,
    • Lucy Popescu () appeals on the behalf of Rashad Ramazanov, a writer and blogger imprisoned in Azerbaijan ,
    • ''the icon of restlessness for a world that never seems able to settle.'' How Hamlet went on tour ,
    • . is upon us. Look out for free copies of Literary Review for festival attendees.,
    • 'If there is a god, nature is the breath of it and art ... is its messenger.' Jan Morris contemplates Wordsworth ,