New Read: The Cuban Missile Crisis (A Very Brief History)

Recently, I have had a bit of an unintentional US president theme going. Having read so far this year Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy from Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series, it seemed very appropriate to read The Cuban Missile Crisis instalment next.

Before reading this, I generally knew that the Cuban Missile Crisis came about due to the Soviet Union placing nuclear missiles on the island, during the Cold War. And that the USA subsequently launched the disastrous ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion. However I knew nothing of how it all came about or how it was eventually calmed down. From reading this, I learnt how relations broke down between the USA and Cuba; how the USA placed an embargo on the island; consequently how they had to reach out to the Soviet Union for help and that it took a long, painful process of negotiation to end it. I am not saying anyone was particularly innocent in these events, but for me the US military leaders came out looking rather bad. So all in all I learnt rather a lot from this short read.

In hindsight, I think I am very lucky to have managed to collect so many of Black’s short histories, as I doubt I would have ever read more about US presidents or politics for that matter otherwise. Which would be a shame because it is a place and history I know very little about. This was another clear and concise history that is broken down into bite-size chapters on: the build-up; US involvement, Soviet involvement; the discovery of missiles; the quarantine of Cuba and finally the aftermath. I warn you now though if you already know a fair bit about this crisis I doubt you will learn anything from this. I recommend to those, like me, who know little to nothing.

Overall, I thought The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Very Brief History was another quick and interesting read. I have eight more editions from this series still to go – it seems appropriate to read the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis instalment next. Okay read.

Have you read this? Or anything else about the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Cold War?


10 thoughts on “New Read: The Cuban Missile Crisis (A Very Brief History)

  1. You’re doing well with your brief history reads. Probably not something that I’ll pick up to be honest as I tend to read fiction only but I often think I should try and shake it up just to learn something new.
    Lynn 😀

  2. I was in high school when the crisis occurred. We were pretty scared at the time. I just posted my review of The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris L West (you can ignore my anti-organized religion screed) which is a fictional account of those times from the viewpoint of the Vatican and the Pope.
    After you read the Jacqueline Kennedy one, you might enjoy the movie Jackie if you haven’t seen it.

  3. I’ve never really understood the Cuban Missile Crisis either, so this sounds like it might be interesting. I’m not a huge fan of very short histories in general, but I suspect that may be because the couple I’ve read have been about periods I was already familiar with. Maybe coming to a subject with no knowledge would mean it would work better for me…

    1. FF, I totally understand as I have read a few short stories which I gleaned absolutely nothing new from, however if you know as little as I did about this crisis then this was a good starting point.

  4. This sounds interesting. I don’t know much about the Cuban Missile Crisis either, so a brief history like this would probably be the perfect starting point for me.

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