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Nuclear Folly

A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Serhii Plokhy

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Allen Lane
02 August 2021
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The definitive history of the Cuban Missile Crisis from the bestselling author of Chernobyl - History of a Tragedy

For more than four weeks in the autumn of 1962 the world teetered. The consequences of a misplaced step during the Cuban Missile Crisis could not have been more grave. Ash and cinder, famine and fallout; nuclear war between the two most-powerful nations on Earth.

In Nuclear Folly, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy tells the riveting story of those weeks, tracing the tortuous decision-making and calculated brinkmanship of John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro, and of their advisors and commanders on the ground. More often than not, Plokhy argues, the Americans and Soviets simply misread each other, operating under mutual distrust, second-guesses and false information. Despite all of this, nuclear disaster was avoided thanks to one very human reason- fear.

Drawing on the impressive array of primary sources, including the recently declassified KGB files, Plokhy masterfully illustrates the drama of those tense days. Authoritative, fast-paced and unforgettable, this is the definitive new account of the Cold War's most perilous moment.

By:   Serhii Plokhy
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 41mm
Weight:   723g
ISBN:   9780241454732
ISBN 10:   0241454735
Pages:   464
Publication Date:   02 August 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming

Serhii Plokhy is Professor of History at Harvard University and a leading authority on Eastern Europe. His books include Baillie Gifford winner Chernobyl- History of a Tragedy, Lost Kingdom, The Gates of Europe and The Last Empire.

Reviews for Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

If you think you think the story of the Cuban missile crisis has been told so often that nothing remains to be learned, think again! Drawing on KGB documents preserved in Ukrainian archives and Soviet military memoirs, as well as American documents and Cuban materials, Serhii Plokhy's almost hour-by-hour account freshly illuminates mistakes by the Kremlin and the White House that triggered the crisis, and snafus at sea and in Cuba that almost sparked a nuclear war, while drawing ominous lessons for our own once-again hair-trigger nuclear age -- William Taubman, author of Gorbachev Nearly sixty years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Serhi Plokhii, the author of multiple groundbreaking books on Soviet history, once again uses newly released KGB archives to offer a new perspective: In gripping, granular detail, he shows us just how close the U.S. and the Soviet Union came to armageddon. At a moment when nuclear technology is still spreading, Nuclear Folly reminds us of the danger we all still face -- Anne Applebaum


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