Skip to content

Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

 19.95

by Max Hastings

From superpower leaders to Cuban peasants, the acclaimed military historian and author of Operation Pedestal takes a panoramic look at the most nerve-jangling episode in twentieth-century history, when Cold War tensions threatened to explode into nuclear conflagration.

Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the most perilous event in history, when mankind faced a looming nuclear collision between the United States and Soviet Union. During those weeks, the world gazed into the abyss of potential annihilation.

One of its most terrifying moments came on 18 October, when President John F. Kennedy and his advisers discussed the prospect that, if US forces invaded Cuba to remove the missiles secretly deployed there, the Soviets would seize West Berlin. Robert Kennedy asked: ‘Then what do we do?’. General Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: ‘Go to general war, if it’s in the interests of ours’. The President asked disbelievingly: ‘You mean nuclear exchange?’. Taylor shrugged: ‘Guess you have to’. His words highlight the madness that overtook some key players on both sides. Mercifully, JFK recoiled from the soldier’s view saying: ‘Now the question really is to what action we take which lessens the chances of a nuclear exchange, which obviously is the final failure’.

Max Hastings’ graphic and brilliant new history tells the story from the viewpoints of national leaders, Russian officers, Cuban peasants, American pilots and British disarmers. Max Hastings deploys his accustomed blend of eye-witness interviews, archive documents and diaries, White House tape recordings, top-down analysis, first to paint word-portraits of the Cold War experiences of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s Russia and Kennedy’s America; then to describe the nail-biting Thirteen Days in which Armageddon beckoned.

Hastings began researching this book believing that he was exploring a past event from twentieth century history. He is as shocked as are millions of us around the world, to discover that the rape of Ukraine gives this narrative a hitherto unimaginable twenty-first century immediacy. We may be witnessing the onset of a new Cold War between nuclear-armed superpowers. To contend with today’s threat, which Hastings fears will prove enduring, it is critical to understand how, sixty years ago, the world survived its last glimpse into the abyss. Only by fearing the worst, he argues, can our leaders hope to secure the survival of the planet.

The LitVox Bookshop

Our bookshop’s range grows by the day. Moreover, we pride ourselves on being able to track down and obtain any book our customers want. Our recommendations service is open for all to use. If we recommend books to you through this service, we’ll can gather those books and send them to you no matter where you. If you’re buying books as a gift, we can gift-wrap them and send them wherever in the world you wish! We can even hand-write your greetings card with your personal message.

Remember that if you’re buying books as a gift, we also offer a wide-range of book prints, gifts and greetings cards for readers of all ages! Check out our print studio and gift-shop today. If you have any special requests for your order or need further gift inspiration, just contact our team at hello@litvox.com, we’re ready and waiting to help!

Weight 0.2 kg
Dimensions 12.7 × 2.0 × 19.8 cm

You may also like…

  • Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

     17.95
  • Ten Days in Harlem

    Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960s

     13.00